Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes We look for justice, but find none Truth has stumbled in the streets and is nowhere to be found.
- Isaiah 59:10-15
One of the saddest commentaries on modern life is the energy we spend trying to determine who is telling the truth and who is not. Gone is the childlike faith that whatever were told is true because we respect the teller. Gone is the consumers belief that the products we buy will perform the service they claim. And many times gone is the citizens trust in those we choose to govern and protect us.
For me, never judge a book by its cover is only the first step. I rarely pick up a book, article, or opinion piece without learning all I can about the author, publisher, prior accomplishments, and who has endorsed or criticized their work. I face the same dilemma when choosing which news reports - or reporters - to believe.
Yes, this kind of scrutiny takes a lot of energy. Another sad commentary on modern life is that so many people tune the whole process out.
If its any consolation, lying has been around since the beginning of time. Cartoonist Bill Keane of Family Circus fame didnt invent the idea behind his I didnt do it frames. Eons before the age of satire and cartoons, a man named Adam blamed his wife for picking the forbidden fruit he enjoyed eating, too. And to hear Eve talk, she wouldnt have taken that first bite if the serpent hadnt convinced her he was more trustworthy than God.
Lying may have begun in the first few chapters of the Bible, and truth may have been difficult to determine ever since. But few concepts are addressed as often in Scripture as the need to seek and live by the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me, God.
The prophet Isaiah spent 60 years trying to convince the people of Israel that what God said was true, but the guidance they received from godless leaders or their own understanding was not (see Proverbs 3:5). Isaiahs message, however, was not pre-emptive. Unlike Gods instructions to Adam and Eve, by the time Isaiah came along the Israelites were already steeped in dishonesty and reaping the consequences. Isaiah, who made no exception for himself, was stunned when he was called to lead his people back to God.
You want me, Lord, a man of unclean lips myself, who lives among a people of unclean lips? (Isaiah 6:5). But God was not deterred. He knew Isaiah was the man for this task. By verse 8 of the same chapter Isaiah agrees, and utters that immortal acceptance speech, Here am I; send me.
But for all his work, Isaiahs poll numbers were low. Who has believed our message, he cried, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? (Isaiah 53:1) Still, in words that pair Israels sinful condition with the promise of a Savior who would bear their punishment for them (Isaiah 53-66), Isaiah continues to coax his people back to God. In chapter 59, he reminds them what their lack of truthfulness has caused: No one pleads his case with integrity they rely on lies (verse 4); Truth has stumbled in the streets (and) is nowhere to be found (14-15).
In contrast to human unclean lips, however, the Psalmist reminds us that, The Lords truth endures forever (Psalm 100:5; 117:2). And in the New Testament Jesus tells his disciples the advantage of placing their trust in Him: If you will hold to my teaching then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32). When the disciples questioned how they would know the truth after He had left them, Jesus said, When the (Holy) Spirit comes, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
Finding the truth, however, will always require energy on our part. Knowing what and whom to believe doesnt happen because we flip a coin, but because we follow Pauls advice to his young associate, Timothy, to Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, and who correctly handles Gods truth (II Timothy 2:15).
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.