Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:5-6
Not too long ago, people would use the phrase, “keeping it real” as an excuse for being brutally honest. Nowadays we say (or emoji) “keeping it 100.” Brutal honesty has some great advantages; you don’t have to lie and you don’t have to do the work of choosing words carefully. Also, it lets people accept us just the way we are; it lets us know who likes us and how we think. Brutal honesty is quick, efficient, and true. But keeping it 100 makes for a harsh and brutal community on social media. It feels so good to our human hearts that people take to fake or burner accounts on social media so they can say exactly what they are thinking without any consideration of what we might call the “social graces.” Keeping it 100 many times lacks kindness, goodness, and, certainly, love.
Whether you’ve ever been to court or just seen Judge Judy on TV, every witness that is sworn in to give their testimony is told to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (so help them God.”) Our justice system inherently knows that people lie, withhold key details, and exaggerate the true story. So we have to be told three different ways to keep the truth absolutely true. That’s because the truth hurts when it’s not absolutely true. Yet if our hearts and minds want to avoid the harshness of keeping it 100, we resort to half truths; we only give part of the story to the other human being either to protect their feelings or our own. In the legal system, lying under oath is called perjury. But too often in the life of a believer, we commit perjury on a regular basis about our faith; we give false testimony about God, His truth, and our relationship with Him. It’s these half truths of faith that give an incomplete and untrue picture of God’s holiness, love, wrath, and grace that lead people to believe God is someone He’s not or that we have to be someone we can never be (like perfect.) A half truth is not loving because it can withhold truth that can save a soul. That’s why I love the saying, “a half-truth is a whole lie.”
It should come as no shock to you that I am going to suggest the answer to all our discussions on truth should come down to Jesus. In John 14:6, it says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Not through your or my truth, but through thetruth: Jesus. More than just keeping it 100 in truth only, John 1:14 states this about Jesus (the Word:) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Full (100%) of grace and truth. Jesus did not come down from Heaven to have us discover our personal truth, He came to reveal himself and that we could experience truth and flee falsehood through the power of his Holy Spirit. The very foundation of living a thankful life has to be built on truth. The fact that we can truly know truth because of Jesus is something to be truly grateful for.
Here are three practical ways to pursue truth today:
Think rightly about God through the study and understanding of God’s Word. Test popular thought and commentary against the truths of scripture.
Think rightly about yourself and others through the study of (fallen) human nature. Test popular thought and commentary against the truth that humans are imperfect and self-centered and that God should be at the center.
Remember God’s grace in your life and that it took you time to realize the truth. Give others that time too.