What Is The Truth?
My son (age 3) came to me in tears the other day. He was distraught because my daughter (age 5), in a moment of frustration, told him, “I’m not your sister anymore!”
There’s a line my wife would often use in instances like this, and given her absence at the moment, I decided to try it out. “Mitchell, what’s the truth? Is she your sister?”
“Yes. But she said she’s not!”
“Mitchell, no matter what she says, she will always be your sister. That is the truth.”
I love how quickly a 3-year-old can be receptive to statements like that. As soon as we had finished that conversation, my kids were back playing together as if the entire ordeal had never even happened. A hurtful lie was meant to tear them apart, but truth, love, and forgiveness brought them back together.
Within the past few months, I’ve learned all too well that someone somewhere is lying about you. Until this past June, I had always lived in the kind of cultures where people, for the most part, kept to their own business. Gossip was generally relegated to the latest celebrity news.
But then, I moved to a small town of just over 8,000 people.
I had only been in this appointment for just about two months when I started hearing rumblings around town. Rumblings about Salvation Army business. Rumblings about my employees. Rumblings about me personally. If it was just one or two people saying something occasionally, I don’t think it would have bothered me as much. But when it got to the point where I was hearing things from people in restaurants and stores, or when my own employees were telling me everything they were hearing regularly from the community, then I had a much harder time dealing with it.
And it bugged me for a long time. But then a question popped into my head.
“What is the truth?”
People are going to talk. Sometimes because they believe what they’ve heard. Sometimes because they’ve convinced themselves of something. And yes, unfortunately, sometimes they genuinely have malicious intent. But ultimately, none of that matters in the end. When I was able to focus on the truth of what I was doing here, and what the Army was doing here, I became more able to tune out the rumors and just live. No matter what people are saying or believing, if I don’t give into the hype, then eventually the negativity will dissipate from being disproven. In the end, the truth will win.
Rotary International begins their “4-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say, or Do” with, “Is it the truth?” It’s often said that there are three sides to any story – what the accuser says, what the accused says, and the truth. Jesus Christ Himself, to those who held to His teachings, said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, NIV)
So what is the truth? Are we allowing truth to run the way we think, or are we perpetuating the rumors and mentalities of negativity that are so blatantly poised around us? Let’s ignore the lies, rumors, and deception. It’s time we stepped away from their bondage and rooted our hearts, minds, words, and actions in the freedom that comes only from the truth.