Walking in Truth in a Post Truth Culture
by Margaret Silvester
I recently heard a very challenging and informative sermon entitled, “Post truth: can’t we believe whatever we want to?” Surprisingly, post truth was the Oxford dictionary’s international word of the year in 2016. We used to have truth and lies; now we have truth, lies and statements that may not be true. Post truth simply means that which appeals to emotion and personal beliefs are more influential than objective facts in shaping public opinion and are acceptable.
One post truth person may say, “There is no objective truth.” Another may say “There is objective truth, but I don’t care, because my personal feelings and preferences matter more.” In other words, “I’ll do what feels right for me” or “I’ll say what benefits me.” In an age which has been called ‘Post Christian’, living in un-compromised truth and integrity is a great challenge to Christians today.
When Jesus, the embodiment of truth, stood on trial before Pilate and said that He had come to testify to the truth, Pilate’s reply was, “What is truth?” Jesus was talking about Himself, the truth, and the revelation of Scripture which is the solid foundation for life. In a world where biblical truth has been at best compromised and at worst eroded, we who profess to be followers of Jesus are challenged by the word of God to live lives of no compromise, reflecting the One who said “I tell you the truth,” seventy-eight times in the Gospels, sometimes under very confronting circumstances.
Truth is the opposite of falsehood. So, how might a so-called ‘bible- believing Christian’, living in a post-truth culture, compromise truth in everyday living, sometimes ignorantly? Well, it’s a matter of the heart. If the belt of truth becomes unbuckled, we can lose our sensitivity to the truth and find we are in the post-truth mould.
The desire to be accepted and thought well of can lead us into the trap of people pleasing. We may not think we are deliberately telling a lie, but keeping quiet when we should speak up or manipulating words to mean what others want to hear, so that we don’t offend them, being reticent with the truth, all fits in well with post- truth culture. The Bible is very clear about how we should live in absolute openness, never compromising truth, even if it may be very inconvenient to remain steadfast. We might suffer loss.
Are we willing to sensitively and lovingly speak out what Scripture tells us, or do we fear repercussions and dodge the issues? Do we fear people or do we fear the Lord? This is a deliberate choice and there’s no middle road. ‘Am I trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ’ (Galatians 1:10).
Prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting - the way of your truth, in the footsteps of Jesus, who is the truth. Make my heart your dwelling place and your royal throne, so that I will bring honour to Your name. Amen.
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