What Is Truth?

Good afternoon from Managua, Nicaragua!

Over the past few weeks there have been a number of stories in the news about people who may or may not have told the whole truth about a particular situation. As human beings, we are often inclined to tell the story in a way that puts us in the best light. Personally, I can think of many instances when I left out certain pieces of a story to protect my reputation or to lessen the consequences of a particular action. There are certainly times when it makes sense not to over share, but in general does it really benefit us to not be fully truthful? If the stories in the news tell us anything, the answer is most often no.

If it does not benefit us, why do we do it? I believe it is because we think we can manage our way through it. In looking at situations in which I left out certain key details about something that happened, that was certainly true of me. The problem is most of the time the truth eventually catches up with us because, as finite beings, we do not have the ability to control everything that is happening in the world around us. The book of Proverbs in the Bible speaks to this when it says, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19, NIV) As the verse says, the lie will only last for the moment. The verse also states another important truth- a lie has the ability to wreck our lives as we know them. Many times the one thing we are trying to protect ourselves from when we lie or tell a half-truth is exactly what happens when the lie is exposed. I have experienced the reality of this a number of times in both Nicaragua and the United States.

So where do we go from here? The other part of the verse in Proverbs gives us the answer- “truthful lips endure forever”. As hard as it is, we have to force ourselves to tell the whole truth. While it may be painful on the front-end, it provides the opportunity for redemption and restoration. In my experience, people are far more willing to forgive and give another chance to a person that is completely honest about their mistakes. By telling the truth, we do not have to worry about managing the situation. Instead, we have the opportunity to start anew. The truth is I am still a work in progress when it comes to this. However, as with everything, I have the chance to get a little better every day. How different would the world be if everyone just told the truth? I am relatively sure we will never know the answer to that question, but we do have the ability to find the answer to that question for our own lives. What will you choose? I choose truth.

– James Belt

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