We live in a world filled with lies.
People have all kinds of “reasons” for not telling the truth, and they can hide it for a time; but in the end the truth will come out.
In the news these days, we have seen a number of high profile stories about people who have been caught trying to hide the truth. When they’re finally caught, the truth is exposed for all to see. Sometimes the truth can be ugly. When it is, we have a tendency to try to cover it up, so nobody can see. The result isn’t a pretty thing. When we cover up the truth, we experience fear (that someone will find out), guilt, and anxiety.
Lies imprison us, and only the truth can set us free.
Jesus said to His disciples, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) He taught that lies make us prisoners, but truth (and ultimately the message of Christ, which is the truth) sets us free.
I have two challenges today:
The first is to be a truth teller.
“Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.” – Albert Einstein
People need to know that we can be trusted to tell them the truth. Even when that truth is uncomfortable. It’s also been said that those who tell white lies soon become colorblind. This is a dangerous place to be. Better just to tell the truth.
On the subject of “white lies”, or lies that are supposed to protect people from hurt or bring comfort, C.S. Lewis has this to say:
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
– C. S. Lewis
The second challenge is: don’t be afraid of the truth.
As leaders especially, we need create a culture where people feel the freedom to tell the truth. When leaders “shoot the messenger”, or punish those who tell uncomfortable truths, others see and will be less willing to tell the truth. When that happens, we end up surrounded by “yes men” and people who are afraid to tell the truth.
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
– Winston Churchill
Let’s be a people of truth. We should tell the truth, and we should be willing to hear it.