By Laurel J. Davis
A comic tells the story of how one night when they were kids, he and his brother kept jumping on the bed despite their father’s repeated warnings. Of course, the predictable happens: the bed finally breaks. Startled, Dad rushes to their room, sees the broken bed and demands an explanation.
“Dad, a strange man came through the window while we were trying to sleep. And he kept jumping on the bed ‘til it broke. And then he ran away.”
“But you don’t have a window!”
“Oh, he brought that with him!”
It’s not hard to imagine what that father could have thought about his kids at that moment. Quick thinkers, yes. Creative, yes. Clever? Maybe. Smart? No way!
What does our Heavenly Father think of us when we lie? We might be as quick-thinking, creative and clever as we want to be, but only a fool thinks he can fool God. Of course, any of us can stumble and lie, and most of us aren’t actually thinking, “Oh, I can fool Almighty God.” But still, only a fool forgets that God is always watching.
Okay, sure, the truth hurts sometimes. The truth tends to expose fault, error or weakness, and when it exposes us, who really wants to face it? Whether by denying it, twisting it, covering it up, or pretending it’s not important, we’re all intimidated by it at some level. It’s okay to “keep it 100” in life…but not so much when it messes with our comfort zones.
Still, we can’t get away from the fact that truth really does matter, and only the fool thinks it doesn’t.
It’s one thing not to know the truth, or to not be aware of the truth in any given situation or context. It’s entirely something else to not value the truth. Only a fool devalues the truth. Whereas the wise person will appreciate the truth by seeking it out, loving it, keeping it close and standing up for it, the fool will ignore it, deny it, twist it, embellish it, pervert it or in some other way reject it.
Does this sound too strong? It’s only to arrest our (I’m including myself) attention to just how much, and why, truth really matters. If we are like those kids in that crucial moment of truth-or-lie decision, and God is like their father demanding accountability, is it not foolish for us to think we can pull the wool over our Father’s eyes? Is it not foolish to think we can avoid accountability by lying before the very One who already knows the truth? Is it not foolish and prideful to think our cleverness provides more security than our Father’s own loving mercy?
But the real truth is, there’s so much more to truth than just the painful side of it once it catches up with us. With a biblical understanding of “truth” – a word used at least 234 times in God’s Word – we will actually want to seek it out in every area of belief, attitude, purpose and conduct of life:
• Truth in heart attitude.
• Truth in daily living.
• Truth in relationships.
• Truth in serving.
• Truth in good works.
• Truth in worship.
• Truth in witnessing.
• Truth in Christian doctrine.
• Truth in one’s own faith in Jesus Christ.
We need a more balanced understanding. The truth hurts sometimes, yes. But it also blesses and, if nothing else, God hates the alternative. Here are seven reasons why truth – God’s truth – really matters:
1. God’s Word, the Bible, is Truth
Jesus said to the Father in heaven, Your word is truth (John 17:17b). The Bible is God’s truth because it consists of the inspired thoughts, words, commandments and prophecies from the mind and heart of Almighty God Himself; and it is profitable for equipping us to live godly in an ungodly world (2 Timothy 3:16-17ff). In light of that, the Bible is clearly mankind’s only reliable guiding help for every aspect of life as a follower of Jesus. That’s why reading the Bible is foundational to knowing how to – and that you can – operate in the truth with confidence.
2. Truth is trustworthy
The Lord is our God of truth who cannot lie (Deuteronomy 32:4; Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:1-2). Everything He does is true and consistent (Psalm 19:9; 25:10; 33:4; 57:10; 85:10; 89:14; 96:13; Isaiah 25:1). His truth endures forever (Ps 117:2; 119:160; 146:6). How comforting to know that God’s truth is one of the most powerful things we can lay hold to in this life.
3. Truth saves us
John 17:17 infers that believers are sanctified by the truth. Plus, Jesus told Pilate, Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice (John 18:37). Why His voice? Because not only is Jesus the very embodiment of truth (John 1:14), He is the only embodiment of it because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Therefore, only those who accept Jesus accept the Truth, and only those who accept the Truth receive salvation onto eternal life (John 14:6 with John 1:14,17; 16:13; Exodus 34:6).
4. Truth protects us
Truth is the very first piece of the whole armor of God that Christians are to put on (Ephesians 6:14-17). Also, the upright person who speaks the truth in his heart will abide with the heavenly Father (Psalm 15:1-2). Even the greatest kind of love, love that never fails, protects our joy because it rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6; Zechariah 8:16; John 4:24; Romans 2:8; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Timothy 4:6; 6:35; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 4:3-4; 1 Peter 1:22).
5. God hates lying
Our Heavenly Father literally hates the alternative to truth: lying (e.g., Psalm 119:163; Proverbs 12:22). And so should we (Proverbs 13:5). That’s because no lie is of the truth (1 John 2:21), because the devil, in whom there is no truth, is the father of lying (John 8:44), and God tells us not to give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). I can’t help but think in particular of all the wolves in sheep’s clothing today who go about deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13) by false doctrines that tickle the ears and fill their own bellies but emaciate the soul.
6. Lying brings worse consequences
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14; cf. Galatians 6:7). In the long-term, truth, even when it hurts, is so much easier to deal with than the complicated chain of lies each previous lie requires – not to mention the consequences God promises will follow (Psalms 63:11; Proverbs 12:19; 19:5). Anyone who practices lying, especially the lie that God doesn’t exist, faces consequences for eternity (Psalms 101:7). Sins, including lies, often result in calamities (e.g., Isaiah. 59; Acts 5:1-11). But all liars are among those who shall have their part in the lake of fire that burns forever (Revelation 21:8).
7. Truth sets us free
Jesus said, If you continue in My word, then you are My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32). The truth – the real truth – offers freedom! Freedom to rest in truth’s saving grace! Freedom to rely on God’s protection in all earthly and spiritual matters of truth! Freedom to think, live and grow by the guiding wisdom of truth! Freedom to share the truth with others! Freedom to defend it! Freedom to search out the truth even when “keeping it 100” pushes against the boundaries of our comfort zones! Freedom to love the truth even when it hurts, knowing that God is still, in all things, forever faithful!
Let’s be wise and always value the truth in every area of life. I’m reminding myself, too. And I’m just telling the truth. Even though it hurts sometimes, truth is not some horrible or some cheap thing for us to avoid, twist, cover up, or toss aside but to love, seek out, possess, keep close. Truth has its blessings, and God honors the truth in us infinitely more than our creativity, cleverness or ability to think quick on our feet.
Laurel J. Davis is a Christian writer, editor and blogger at www.reluctantfirstlady.com, where this article originally appears. She is a pastor’s wife from Los Angeles.