Webster’s Dictionary recently added 1,000 new words. One new word is fast fashion, when manufacturers quickly bring fashion to the marketplace at inexpensive prices. Another new word is ghost, abruptly cutting off all contact with someone. Other words added were safe space, a place on social media free of bias, conflict, criticism, or threatening actions; and humblebrag, to make a seemingly modest reference to one’s achievements.
I am thinking a word that has always been in the dictionary needs to be reclaimed and lifted up in our society today—truth. A basic definition of truth would be “that which is in accordance with fact or reality,” “sincerity in character, action, and words.”
Sadly, today we are hearing terms like alternative facts (making up your own facts), or alternative truth (truth as you define it), false measures (distortion of accurate facts), and fake news (when the press doesn’t tell the truth or give accurate facts).
Most of these terms are coming today from the political world. But as politicians and others use these terms, the American people are being taught that real-live, actual truth does not matter anymore, that you can make up your own truth, no matter what the facts show. This attitude destroys hope.
Truthfulness Builds Hope Into Our Relationships
Twenty-five percent of couples in their 20s say they have made purchases of $500 or more without telling their spouses. Six percent have taken the deception a step further by maintaining hidden checking or savings accounts or using secret credit cards. We call this behavior today “financial infidelity” (infidelity meaning you weren’t true to your spouse). Just imagine how financial infidelity destroys the hope of a growing, satisfying marriage
Truthfulness Builds Credibility Into Our Institutions
In the Penn State football scandal some years back, an assistant coach was sexually abusing children without the university’s knowledge. Trust in that institution of higher learning was damaged.
My wife received a piece of mail the other day that was inserted into an envelope that claimed to be an “official government notification.” When she opened the envelope, inside was an advertising piece from a car company. We felt tricked. Our trust in marketing-advertising went down.
Truthfulness Builds Trust in Others
If one of your children has a problem with lying, you can’t trust that child. If a parent constantly lies to a child, that kid grows up believing you can’t trust adults. If a person says, “I will do that,” but then reneges, you wonder if you can trust anyone to do what he or she says.
Truthfulness Is Essential to Your Personal Faith
We hear a lot today about “absolute truth” and “relative truth.” Absolute truth says that something is true for all people at all times and in all circumstances. Bible teaching is absolute truth. What God says in His Word, the Scriptures, is true for every person at all times and in all circumstances.
Relative truth, on the other hand, says truth can be true for one person, but not for another person, different people might see truth in different ways, and truth change with circumstances.
The emergence of relative truth in recent years means our children are growing up not knowing what to believe. Relative truth sabotages the clear absolute teachings of the Bible, and diminishes the authority of Bible teaching.
Do you see now how truthfulness brings hope? And can you also see how growing untruthfulness in American life today is destroying our hope that our country can be united as well as a positive influence in the world? Truth really does build hope. That fact is the reason Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).