“Throughout the Ages People Have Had Trouble Handling the Truth. They Have Tried to Redefine It to Serve Their Purposes. They Have Even Questioned Whether There Is Such A Thing as Truth.”
This astute commentary upon one of the principal moral difficulties which have dogged the steps of man, was offered by Cheryl Forbes, who is an editorial consultant for evangelical publications. Henry Leyte was quite to the point when he offered the hymnodic word, “Change and decay in all around I see.” The fleet passage of time hath, for the every quick pause in particular periods along the way, beheld much in the way of change. The chronological marking for these “Latter times” (1 Timothy 4:1) and “last days” (2 Timothy 3:1) has been all too evident. The amazing advances in science and technology, which have caused the dreams of yesterday to become the doings of today, only underscore the Spirit-led wisdom of the prophet of the former times to aver that “knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).
Yet, these are but the exterior of things, the brightness of surface movements. “Change and decay …” Ah! but ‘tis another matter and speaks to the interior. Beneath the brightness there is bitterness.
Without are the mechanics, but lurking deep within are the moralities and “decay” which are but the stained footprints of sin’s entrance upon these once-fair scenes (Romans 5:12) which but make a mockery of moral movements. The engineer may be a cad and a scoundrel, and with the fashioning of printouts there is the poison of lust. Sin wears many faces, but the skeleton lurking beneath is ghastly and repulsive.
“Decay,” which is one of its workings too, wears many faces. One of these is the problem addressed by Cheryl Forbes. Truth has ever suffered poor passage through these scenes, but the suffering has been accentuated in these closing chronological slots of this vaunted 20th century. Lying has not only become a way of life but, rather, an accepted coin to be traded across the many-layered counters of contemporary society. Pilate would feel quite comfortable amidst the settings of today with the cynical raising of his question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Ron Hedron, the political commentator has said, “Truth is a bouncing ball.” Watergate is still too painfully fresh in too many memories.
“People have had trouble handling the truth.” But what is the nature of that trouble, and wherein the difficulty? Scripture speaks of those who “hold the truth in unrighteousness”(Romans 1:18), and the “unrighteousness” is measured by the “trouble handling the truth”; it is held “down” and there is the evil of suppression. The redefinings and questionings of which Cheryl Forbes speaks, the looseness of lying, cometh from that morality which dares not face the consequences of truth. There is the moral cowardice which cannot face the implications of that which is set forth, and modern man hurries to hide behind facades and artifices.
This is surely to be apprehended in the many-layered transactions of modern man. But here ‘tis the matter of temporal gain or loss. Truth-handling assumes tragic dimensions when the entire matter is transferred to the higher and more serious realm of spiritual verties. The drift and guilt and frustration experienced by moderns, despite his amusements and exercises, are but the sure consequences of his moral and sinful cowardice in squarely addressing himself to the established verties of the Word. Our Lord marked the determinant character of that Word when he declared, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17). “But as God is true (the) word toward you was not yea and nay” (2 Corinthians 1:18).
Of course it is to be realized that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not” (2 Corinthians 4:4); the “blinded” is in the nature of a paralyzing fog. It remains as an imperative for the believer to beseech the convicting power for those held in the bubble-exercise of truth-twisting. Modern man must realize that his soul cannot suffer the same treatment as his body. The commerce of truth travels in quite the more serious lane. He but cheapens and imperils himself by the confusion, and lying to one’s self is but the poorest of exercises to effect progress in that area when the things and traffic of earth are terminated.