She tossed my last bag of groceries in the car and mumbled “I hope you have a good day” as she walked away from me.  She didn’t even look at me as she said it, and she gave no indication that she really cared what kind of a day I had.  She was going through the motions of customer service, and she said what she was told to say without meaning a word of it.  In that moment I realized how hungry I am for authenticity in the people around me, and how uncommon it is for us to be totally truthful.

Truth is hard to come by in our society.  We have politicians, lawyers, media, marketing, and “self-help” experts that are far more likely to tell us what will advance their agenda or product than what is the unvarnished truth.  Spin and bias have become so commonplace we expect them from our news sources.  There are psychologists who make a living reading the differences between what people say and what their body language indicates they believe.  Politically correct has trumped honest, and we make emotional, moral, political, and financial decisions based on portions of truth, or absence of truth because we don’t know or won’t bother to learn the whole truth.

Treasury agents who specialize in counterfeit money do not begin their training by examining the methods of counterfeiters; they study the real thing until they know it so well that any deviation from authentic currency is obvious to them.  Counterfeiters, lawyers, politicians, and advertisers have a personal stake in making us believe them.  They spin the facts for their personal gain and present half truths and outright lies to us as the whole truth to serve their benefit, not ours.  

Truth matters to God.  He requires it from us, and he gives it to us.  John identified Jesus as the “word made flesh” (John 1:14), and Jesus identified himself as “truth” (John 14:1).  Jesus doesn’t manipulate us for his personal gain with a selective version of the facts; he tells us outright that he wants us to know the truth because it will “set us free” (John 8:32).  Jesus identified Satan as the Father of lies (John 8:44).  By my count there are 29 times in both the gospel of Matthew and John when Jesus says, “I tell you the truth…”  He also frequently told the people, “You have heard….but I say…” when he tried to make them understand the difference between what they’d been taught and what God had actually said.  John 16:13 says, “…when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”  Paul warns Timothy to “present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  (II Tim 2:15)

I am consistently disappointed when I seek truth in a world that refuses to be guided by it.  God is truth and speaks truth.  I pray that my understanding of his character and heart will always lead me to the truth about my circumstances, and that my character and heart will provide a place of genuine authenticity to all those I meet.

 

Psalm 40:11 … O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.

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