Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 26 - December 2008 / January 2009 > Truth (by Mary Turbet)


by Mary Turbet

Telling the truth and telling lies

In John 18:38 Jesus said "Everyone on the side of Truth, listens to me" and Pilate asked "What is truth."

According to my dictionary truth is "the quality or state of being true, accurate, honest, sincere or faithful".

1 Sam 12:24 tells us "to be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully (in truth) with all your heart."

But is the Bible true - did Jesus really come down from heaven to be with us? How can we be sure?

1 John 1:3-4 says: "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ".

And in 2 Peter 1:16 & 17 he tells us that "we did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Here we have both John and Peter stating that they have seen and heard these things - that they have been eyewitnesses of Jesus' majesty. You may say that this is using the document to prove itself and I suppose that this is so, but to me this is more proof of what I already believe.

In Luke 1:3, Luke tells us that he has "investigated everything from the beginning" and he thought it a good idea for him to write an orderly account so that "you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught". He states in verse 2 that "these things were handed down to us by eyewitnesses"

Truth is spoken of quite a lot in the Bible.

In John 17:17 Jesus prayed, " Sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth."

Eph. 4:15 says, "Speaking the word of truth in love, we will in all things grow into Him who is the Head. i.e. Christ."

Of course there are different kinds of "truth" - there are:

Truths mixed with untruths. Half truths.
White lies.
Absolute truths
And then there are absolute lies.

I can remember being told when I was quite young, that a person telling a mixture of truth and lies was the worst of all, because you never knew which was which.

If we tell only half the truth - this can give a completely wrong picture - e.g. "I saw Jimmy taking Billy's bike and ride away with it." Had Jimmy just "taken" Billy's bike or had he asked Billy if he could borrow it. If we only have half the truth we can cause a lot of trouble.

Then there are white lies. Are these acceptable when they are used to protect, to encourage someone to do better, to make a greater effort, to give hope, or to promote confidence?

I can remember going to my Dad and telling him, "I can't do these sums. I'll never be able to understand this". His reply was, "of course you can, having now admitted that you don't know `how to do them' you can now start to understand `how to do them"' and he sat down with me and in his way, explained how the sum could be used in a practical manner. His methods of doing the sum were of course, quite out of date and unacceptable to my teacher but knowing the reason for the sum in question, and also knowing that my 'Dad had confidence in my ability, made all the difference. No doubt this psychology would not be appreciated these days, but it certainly did the trick for me. Encouragement from the right person is a wonderful thing.

There are white lies that visitors tell but these can sometimes backfire. You know that the meal is anything but good - the baked potatoes were not quite cooked, the peas had been waiting too long and had gone mushy, and to make matters worse, the apple crumble had a delightful black top which had to be scraped off..! Your visitor tells you how much she has enjoyed the meal and you think to yourself, `she must be an awful cook if she thinks that was a good meal! If it happens to be your daughter in law, you may start to wonder if your son is being fed properly! No, no, no, no, no! This does not apply to my daughters in law.

Biblical characters were just as subject to telling lies as we are to-day. We only have to look at these verses:

In Gen 27 Rebecca organized Jacob to pretend to be Esau and Jacob ended up telling his father several lies.

In Gen 42:8-14 Joseph calls his brothers spies. Not a direct lie but he certainly knew this was not correct.

In Joshua 2 we have the story of Rahab who hid the 2 Israelites But she told the messengers of the king that "the men had left at dusk when it was time to close the city gate" even though she had hidden them upstairs.

Could Jacob have stood up against his mother? Probably, but isn't it more likely that Jacob wanted the blessing just as much as his mother wanted it for him. It is something that he would treasure. No doubt Rebecca remembered the statement that the Lord made, that the "older son would serve the younger" and decided that she would give the Lord a hand to enable this to come about! Esau didn't seem to have any interest in his birthright and sold it for a bowl of stew and some bread but when he found the blessing had been given to Jacob he was heartbroken.

As for Joseph calling his brothers spies - this seems to have been something he did as an excuse to hold his younger brother, and an indirect lie does not seem to have troubled him.

As for Rahab, there is no question that she lied her head off - certainly in a good cause.

Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life". May we all have the truth, know the truth and follow the Truth - Jesus.

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 26 - December 2008 / January 2009 > Truth (by Mary Turbet)