Pontius Pilate asked, “what is truth?”
I picture him saying it as a toss-away, shoulder-shrugging “Eh? Your truth, my truth. What is truth?”
In this plugged-in age, the “truth” flies at you like poison darts from every direction and you can’t duck fast enough to escape being pierced? You anxiously hope for only the “real” truth arrows to bury themselves under your skin. Let the other truths, the relative truths, the subjective truths clatter harmlessly to the floor.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Oh boy. There’s the rub. How do we recognize that truth? And what does it mean to be set free? Of what? How? How can one little word carry such heavy weight of responsibility?
From a perfect blue sky, the sun radiates onto lush greens of every shade. Flowers bloom in every vibrant color found in nature. Birds are chirping and a gentle breeze stirs my hair as I sit by the open window typing my thoughts to you. This is true for me, for here, for now. Where you are may be gray and drizzly; that is true for you. While our two truths differ, the truth of God’s hand, creating both sunlight and clouds is the ultimate truth that stands indisputably above our individual truths now and always.
These are troubled days. Just miles from my idyllic setting are people gripped in rage and despair; others are caught up in sorrow, confusion and fear. Funerals, marches, riots, and protests draw raw and angry crowds. Prayer vigils and peaceful gatherings unite sad and broken hearts. All seek an outlet to ease the pain of death, disease or social and racial injustice. All seek truth.
Politicians, pundits, and passersby all have opinions and plans; all point to the source, the cause, the perpetrators of every ill or misdeed, or outrage; natural or man-made. But too often the “facts” prove false, the causes are questionable, the solutions less than sound. Distrust and suspicion foul the air and we are left wondering who’s telling the truth.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a Pinocchio Principle to weed out the lies? Remember Geppetto, who carved himself a wooden puppet? Magic happened while the kindly old man slept, dreaming of a son. “If you prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish, you will become a real boy,” said the fairy waving her wand, bringing puppet Pinocchio to life. She sent a cricket named Jiminy to help steer him on the righteous road. But every temptation and trap, detour and dastardly deed the wide world offers, lured Pinocchio from his righteous path. Along with captivity in a cage, the tail of a donkey with ears to match, and wailing in a whale, who can forget his consequence for lying? That’s right, the nose grows.
What if Washington DC, the pit of politics, operated under this principle. What if news sources and Twitter trolls were forced to follow the fairy’s terms? What if false prophets and product pitchmen fell under the same spell? Speak truth or watch out! The halls of Congress wouldn’t be long enough to hold the prominent proboscises. Newsrooms would be nose-rooms. Clarity, at last! You lie! I spy! I spy the evidence of your prevarication right there, and there, and all the way out to….there.
But wait! We have something better. We have the Truth.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6a)
When we are disciples of Jesus, the truth is right there in His Word. Scripture provides all we need to establish the boundaries for our lives; right and wrong, fact or fiction, good and evil. Every decision we make or action we take can be determined by the wisdom in the pages of the Bible. In concept and intent—if not in exact detail — Jesus has illustrated and demonstrated our way forward.
When we surrendered our lives to Him as Lord and Savior, He sent His Advocate. John 16:13 says, “When the spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” That Spirit, the Holy Spirit abides in us and with Him comes all wisdom. “Then you will understand what it right, just and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.” (Proverbs 2:9-10)
Pinocchio was a lucky boy. He was saved by the love of his “father” Geppetto. But you and I are favored ever-so-much more. We are blessed and saved by the love of our Heavenly Father. Our conscience resides, not perched on our shoulder like Jiminy Cricket, but deep in our hearts and souls in the person of the Holy Spirit.
He will fill us with wisdom if we ask Him. He will show us the way if we listen to Him. He will discern the Truth for us if we seek Him. The world desperately needs Truth, the truth that frees us from sin; from the ungodly, the immoral, the questionable. Our choice is between the shallow offerings of the secular world or the deep, soul enriching gifts of the Spirit. Let’s choose Him.
Though we love a fairy tale like Pinocchio from a storybook, we should share the truth from the Good Book. Let’s weigh the “worlds” truth against the Word’s truth. Long noses would be hilarious proof of public perfidy, but we’ve got Jesus. And with Jesus, we have everything we need to discern the truth so we can flourish and become holy in His image.