Sunday, July 28, 2013

Truth & Lies: A Reflection On Us

The truth is our calibration to true north, the perfect formula for deriving an accurate assessment and the source to unbelievable peace and happiness. In the latest headlines, involving corrupt government leaders, misguided public policy debates and political scandals galore, the ability to find the truth seems to be a whimsical fairytale.

When we were children, it was emphasized to us repeatedly that under no circumstances was telling a little or big lie justifiable or honorable. In fact, if we did attempt such a feat, there would be great consequence. But older years taught some that to tell a “fib” can get one out of an unwanted situation and sadly, that scenario was the more appealing choice at times versus getting “caught”. When the act of lying becomes an art of familiarity, we eventually become desensitized to the lies coming out of our own mouths. And, the nerves connected to our conscience become numb to the guilt.

It is true that at times the truth is hard, painful, inconvenient and disappointing. But, the truth is right, wise and brings Providence’s blessing. To mock its existence and gird ourselves with another layer of lies is of monumental consequence to us, those around us and our world.

The aroma of the national narrative is putrid, and the successive confusion overwhelming. The list seems endless: Benghazi, IRS fiasco, NSA leaks, scandal of Fast and Furious, manipulation of the news media, deception in the US Justice Department, leaders getting caught in heinous acts, political agendas controlling court rulings. The list of discrepancies does not seem to end.

However, I believe Americans must look deeper. If we have high expectations of those in governing authority, we should have higher expectations of ourselves. After all, it is you and me who are in some way contributing to these leaders being in office (yes, elections matter). If we are expecting excellence from our leaders, honesty in all of their exchanges, and integrity in their personal lives, should we not ask the same of ourselves?

Are we being truthful in our own lives, with our families, with our pocketbooks, with our local communities? Are we living lives of excellence that our children, and nieces and nephews, neighbors can aim to model and spouses respect?

In no way am I excusing the poor behavior, mis-management of our tax dollars and dishonorable activity of some of our current leaders. But as we point one finger at our culture’s leaders, I think it is important to consider how many fingers are pointing back at us. How can we expect exemplary behavior from them if we are not doing the same for those looking to us, as their leaders?

In the natural progression of anything, things grow one on top of another. Until someone peels back the moldy layer, stops the domino affect or quits adding another layer to the faulty pyramid, the progression will continue. The elected leaders, government department heads and reporters in the media should be held to a high standard both on national, state and local level. But so should we. And perhaps now as we pray for truth to be revealed in all scenarios, and consider whom we should elect next time to replace certain leaders, it’s also a good time to examine our own lives.

When you and I justify certain rationale for reasons we did this or that, we may not be judged in the headlines or voting booth. But as individual people the only judgment that truly counts is our conscience before God.

Aristotle said: “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold.” You and I are experiencing a culture where lies have been multiplying, configuring and building upon one another for decades. While the penalty of our nation’s ways does not necessarily rest on our shoulders, its redemption can. The truth is best for everyone. In order for the truth to do its job and accomplish its purpose, the lies must stop. And the truth’s success starts with you and me.