Day 30 Speak the Truth
Adapted from Psalm 119:41-48. May Your loving kindness come to me, Oh Lord. I claim Your salvation according to Your promise; give me the right answer to anyone who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word. And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I put my hope in Your wisdom and direction. Help me to keep Your law in my heart continually, forever and ever. I know I walk at liberty when I seek Your will. I speak Your truths before leaders and will not be ashamed. I delight in Your commandments, which I love, and I meditate on Your statutes. I lift up my hands to You in praise. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
In 1966, Time, on its April 8, cover, asked, “is God Dead?” In 2017, fifty-one
years later, it asks, “Is Truth Dead?” In 1966 a professor at UMASS Amherst said God was an illusion and faith was a self-perpetuating fantasy. I tried to argue that God is alive and faith is God’s gift to us. My professor said my faith was limiting my potential and gave me a “B” grade. I kept the paper to remind myself that my faith was more important than a grade. The arguments of a naïve sophomore were probably too weak to stand up to the scrutiny of a PHD professor. Nevertheless, the truth I learned in 1966 was that professors did not always know the truth. I feel the same way about any claims that truth is dead. So I find myself asking constantly—what is the whole truth? The synonyms: veracity, fact, certainty, honesty, etcetera all define a part of knowing the truth—but not the whole.
Paul tells us, “For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor. 13.9-13)
Seeking the truth is complicated by our “partial knowledge.” Truth is discussed in Scripture around 181 times, but this mention jumped out at me today:
So they watched [Jesus] and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. (Luke 20.20)
Listen again to these words: “They watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest.” When we look for the truth—are we open to seeing it, or do we already think we know know what we want the truth to be? In 1966 my professor was certain that God was dead and faith was an illusion. He had no room for anyone to question him. All my classmates told me, "Just agree with him, and get a better grade." Fifty-one years later I see my encounter with that professor in a different light. He was limited, as all of us are, by the information that he had and the way he received that information. Everyone has limited knowledge—no one of us is God, therefore if we seek truth, we must seek that image of God in each of us that knows truth. We must not become “spies who pretend to be honest” to prove something of which we feel certain, but may not be truth. Will we seek and speak the truth in love, understanding our limits and humbly seeking the image of God that helps us see in part through the complexity of our world?