As I was riding the subway to work this morning, my thoughts were revolving around recent events and encounters (personal and societal). Many folks (Christians included) often seem to struggle over issues regarding truth and honesty. A simple daily illustration: you are on your way to meet someone somewhere when you get a call from the person you are supposed to meet, asking “Where are you?” At this juncture, responses such as “I am almost there…” (when actually you are not) just pops out of your mouth. Got the picture? Of course, some will categorize this as non-incidental, a “white lie” (that does not really harm). It certainly does not help that standards of measurement pertaining to what is the honest truth, are rather ambivalent in our day and age. The principle of relativity is constantly offered as one explanation why some decisions are made this way or that. So much so that truth becomes relegated to being something rather… subjective? But is it? Is truth truly subjective to begin with? Is that why for the very same situation, more than one “explanation” can be offered to justify one’s action and/or decision? Are there no absolutes when it comes to truth?
Life is hard for a myriad of very complex reasons, sin being the foundation of it all. Hence, problems and challenges are really an inevitable part and parcel of living. Like it or not, we have to face and deal with them as they come knocking on our door. However, some individuals choose to run away from them (and I am not talking about temporary respite). The obvious result is that these who choose escape as a solution, discover later that the problems seem to be running after them. Worst still, sometimes the problems kind of snowball as one runs further and further away from it. So you see, there is truth in the scriptural verse that reminds us to, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Songs 2:15). Some problems are better faced and resolved than ignored.
When it comes to the subject of truth, our Lord Jesus pointed out one outcome of truth when He said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…” (John 8:32). Yes, there is one undeniable quality about God’s truth: IT SETS ONE FREE! Synonyms such as “liberated” and “released” comes to mind together with antonyms such as “shackled”, “bondage” and “imprisoned”, painting the scenario of individuals under locks and chains. First, to be “set free” suggests that one is in bondage or imprisoned to begin with. Indeed, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that we ARE truly “prisoners” ourselves: trapped in “have to” situations (we feel we have no control over), relationships, systems (political, social, economic, etc.), and the like. How do we cope with this? The general trend is to gripe and to complain, a spirit of thanklessness. Lots of “I wish this….I wish that…” venting inadvertently comes pouring out from our hearts through our mouths. It also saps us of our energy, and drains our spirit. No wonder many Christians project a rather listless and spiritless demeanour as they go about their daily living! Yes, many are in prison and live imprisoned lives! That is why Jesus had to come: to introduce us to His truth and more accurately, to Himself who CAN and WILL set us free!
Next, you got to KNOW this truth before you can be set free! Knowledge is a powerful thing. It is knowledge that has propelled the race amongst nations (space, technology, education, etc.). But knowledge itself cuts both ways. It has benefited mankind and also torn humanity apart as well! Unless it is with this realization that this is God’s truth, knowledge about God Himself! Stemming from the Creator and Source of Truth, and returning fully back to Him! Yes, knowledge must be harnessed or it can run wild! Hence, Solomon wisely warns, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1:7). God’s knowledge is given to mankind as much for our welfare, as it is for His glory!
I believe it was Jack Nicholson who said this line to Tom Cruise in one scene in the movie, A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!” Yes, truth is not something we can trifle with, nor should we. Truth, God’s truth, must be rightly handled. And taught. And entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). If we would humbly admit that we are imprisoned, and desire to be set free, then we must also be willing to turn to and accept the only source who can set us free. Otherwise, our lives can only be one that is spent running…and running…and running. Why not stop, and embrace the offer of the only Son of God who came that we may have life, and have it abundantly (John10:10)? Come to Jesus today…….