David L. Goetsch
Politicians May Not Care About the Truth But God Does (John 8:32)
In this season of politics, a lot of Christians are disturbed about the falsehoods they hear on television every night. It seems that some politicians and their supporters are willing to say anything to advance their agenda. John 8:32 tells us that the truth will set us free. This being the case, there are a lot of people in politics, the mainstream media, and on social media who are being held captive by falsehoods, distortions, deceptions, and misdirection. Even worse, they all claim to be telling the truth.
I fear that truth is becoming a blurry concept open to interpretation and manipulation. The fact that we are in an election season just makes matters worse. This your truth-versus-my-truth perspective is disturbing because there is only one truth: God’s truth. Politicians, media mavens, and social media junkies may not care about the concept of absolute truth, but God does. Truth is not a negotiable concept.
Truth is defined as fidelity to an established standard. So far so good, but this definition raises an important question: What is the established standard used to determine truth? If you begin with the wrong standard, your definition is invalid from the outset, something that is happening a lot these days. For example, this is precisely what is happening when politicians and their supporters view truth as anything that advances their agenda or supports their election or re-election. The world has begun to apply the wrong standard in determining what is true or false as well as what is right or wrong. It is not uncommon these days to hear people say, “That may be your truth, but it’s not mine” or “You have your truth and I have mine.”
People who say these things believe they are the final arbiters of truth. They view defining truth as their personal prerogative; they see it as something they can mold and shape to fit their personal agendas. Their established standard is a flexible notion based on whatever serves their purpose at any given time. Anything that validates their desires or supports their agenda is considered truth. Take this philosophy to its logical conclusion and you can see the obvious problem with it.
If you can have your truth and I can have mine, there can be as many truths in the world as there are people. In such a scenario, it is never long before your truth conflicts with mine. When this happens, who is right if you can have your truth and I can have mine? Apply this false view of the truth to politics where there are often hidden agendas and nefarious motives and the size of the problem is multiplied by an order of magnitude.
This obvious paradox is why it is important for Christians to understand there can be only one established standard for determining the truth. That standard is God’s Word, the Holy Bible. God’s Word is the truth in all situations and on all occasions. Consequently, to walk in truth is to walk in accordance with God’s Word. It does not matter if the Word of God advances one’s political agenda, accords with one’s desires, or supports one’s point of view. The Bible is the truth and anything that runs counter to its teaching is false.
Politicians, media mavens, and social media junkies who assume they can personally decide what is true or right are guilty of more than just arrogance; they are guilty of violating God’s First Commandment. They commit the sin of putting another god—themselves—before the true and living God of Scripture. They take on the role of God for themselves, assuming equality with him. This is more than just hubris; it’s blasphemy—an act of contempt for God.
In John 8:32, Jesus tells us that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. A lot of Christians take this verse to mean the truth will set us free from the trials, tribulations, and anti-Christian bias of the world. A lot of unbelievers take this verse to mean the truth—as they define it—will set them free from the restrictive rules of Christianity. Both are wrong. When Jesus said the truth will set us free, he meant that God’s Word will set us free from the destructive clutches of sin. He meant that the truth as explained in his Word will free us from the ensnaring web of temptation spun by that most poisonous of spiders: Satan.
Walking in God’s truth can be a lonely endeavor at times. It is not uncommon for Christians to find themselves in situations where unbelievers are the majority. When you feel isolated and alone because of your beliefs, don’t despair. Instead, take the long view. Think about the message in Proverbs 11:3 where we are assured the treacherous will be destroyed by their own perfidy. When you hear politicians or media personalities stating obvious falsehoods to advance an agenda, remind yourself that the end of their story may not be pleasant. They are making a thorn-filled bed they will have to lie in for eternity if they don’t change.
In this election season, when you tire of hearing politicians and so-called journalists spouting obvious falsehoods and covering up past indiscretions, hold tight to Proverbs 11:3. When you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of falsehoods you hear daily, let your faith guide you no matter how vocal and persistent the opposition to God’s truth might be. Your walk with the Lord is a marathon not a sprint and there will be challenges along the way. But Proverbs 10:2 provides all the assurance you need to faithfully run the good race in truth, honesty, and integrity. This verse assures us righteousness will deliver us and that the wickedness of the dishonest will not profit them. Regardless of the outcomes of their elections, politicians who flaunt God’s Word will one day stand before a judge much more important than the American voter. Those who win by lying to voters will eventually lose something more important than an election.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Veteran’s Lament: Is This the America We Fought For? and Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press.