Searching out the truth in a matter can be very difficult. In today’s society we change terminology to legitimize the guilty by minimizing the terms we use in describing their behavior. For instance; a person who was once referred to as a ‘porn-star’ is now referred to as an ‘adult film star’ and a woman who appeared as a centerfold in a Playboy magazine is referred to as a playboy model though it is obvious she was not modeling anything other than herself. If I was Meryl Streep or any other adult film star I would protest at how this degrades their profession. The flip side is this, perhaps the film stars that do agree to degrade themselves in movies, should be referred to as porn-stars. Why is this important? Because we live in a culture which is increasingly denying the reality of what was once called sin.
Have you ever wondered why a person who is about to testify in a court of law is required to put their right hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God?
First they are asked to tell ‘the truth’ which simply means that we must not lie when responding to the question. The second is we are being asked to tell ‘the whole truth’ which implies that a person can tell the truth and yet still not tell the ‘whole truth’ by leaving things out tainting the intent of what they are saying. The third point is we are asked to tell ‘nothing but the truth’ meaning you have not added things to your testimony that would put what you said in a favorable light.
As we can easily see, people can consciously or subconsciously manipulate the truth and still insist that what they say is true. The intent of the oath, that a person gives, is to awaken the consciousness of the individual to the importance of being truthful in their testimony. This is dramatically shown by having them physically lay their left hand on the ‘Word of God’ while voicing verbally an ‘Oath to God’ that what they are about to say is true. Sadly, like the title of this newsletter implies, many people simply can’t handle the truth. They self-justify their actions by manipulating the truth to save themselves from the harsh reality of having to face up to what actually happened. Truth is like light. It operates in the daylight. Sin hides in darkness where its secrets will not be exposed.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-6 ESV
Truth matters because we cannot make reasonable decisions concerning life without it. Truth represents our core values as given by God, those things that define who we are created to be. Some have a fear of truth because of the consequences it may have upon their life or they may simply not understand the rationale behind it. Others feel there is an alternate explanation or another source of truth that should be considered. Still some see the truth as being contrary to public opinion. God’s truth is his uncompromising love given to us for our own good.
The problem is this; our culture has judged the Christians to be intolerant because we believe in absolutes. In matters of religion, either Jesus is Lord or he is not. Either God exists or he doesn’t. Take abortion for instance, is it right or is it wrong? Either a fetus is actually a human being or it isn’t.
“To Tolerate, Or Not To Tolerate That Is The Question.”
We have come to use words like tolerance and intolerance to define what is either acceptable or unacceptable in our culture. The problem they both face, is without truth they are both unacceptable. In the past, Christianity presented to mankind, through God’s word a respect for righteousness and an abhorrence for immoral behavior. Because of the Church’s moral stance they were considered by many to be intolerant, narrow-minded, and judgmental and opposition arose to the absolutes presented through God’s word. Absolutes are hard and unyielding, and if you’re their defender, you risk making yourself into their image: hard and unyielding. This is why we as Christ followers, need to learn how to give an unapologetic explanation in defense of God’s word while still loving and accepting those who we disagree with. If we as Christians ‘fear man more than we fear God,’ we will come to desire the acceptability and praises of man over the truth of God, which will cause us to compromise, changing the intent found within the word of God.
What we formally accepted within our culture as being an absolute truth has now been defined by what is inclusive and acceptable to all men. If we are not careful our definition of morality will become based upon what is socially acceptable within a culture, so much so that we will craft our terminology to be politically correct as we ‘tiptoe around’ subjects so we are not labeled as being…‘intolerant.’ One wonders what it would be like if we hated sin to such a degree that people would think of us as being a nuisance. Perhaps that is why the world takes little note of us, our love for righteousness has become stagnant while our tolerance for evil has grown.
The more we stray from the truth the more we doubt what is really true. Our tolerance of sin, as it relates to morality, is the lukewarm additive that distills the truth of God’s word making it more palatable for the masses to digest. If we do not train our children to think, to ask, as well as be able to answer questions and to have the discipline to search out the truth, we are very much in danger of losing this next generation to those who are boldly challenging the very foundation of God’s words.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:22-26 ESV
May we as leaders in the church learn to disciple and discipline those God has added to the church and not be afraid to teach the precepts found in the word of God as it pertains to the issues of the day. We need to learn and be able to teach others how to speak the uncompromising truths of God’s word, in a Christ-like manner, which allows the Holy Spirit to convict and bring them to full repentance.
Should a Christian be zealous in their concern for the cause of Christ? Without a doubt a Christian is to show civility, in our behavior and speech, when speaking to others. We do a disservice to Christ when we confuse tolerance with truth. We are called to embrace and love all people while not accepting or condoning all of their beliefs.
Our prayer is that our lives would be a demonstration of His love and our words be anointed by the Holy Spirit, bringing life and hope to a world which seeks to know the truth.