Truth Matters!

by Bill Denton

"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another" (Eph. 4:25).

After being included in Oprah Winfrey's famous book club, James Frey's memoir, A Million Little Pieces, quickly sold over 3.5 million copies. Controversy erupted, however, when questions arose about whether the stories contained in Frey's book were true.

"On January 11, 2005, Oprah Winfrey called in to CNN's Larry King Live. She defended the book, and its author, stating that the controversy over his truthfulness was much ado about nothing,' claiming that Frey's writing was the essential truth' of his life. She went on to say: Although some of the facts have been questioned, the underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me. And I know that it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book and will continue to read this book. It's irrelevant discussing, you know, what happened or did not happen to the police.'

"Reversing herself several weeks later, after new information had come out confirming Frey's dishonesty, Oprah apologized on her own show. I regret that phone call,' she said. I made a mistake and I left the impression that the truth does not matter. And I am deeply sorry about that, because that is not what I believe. To everyone who has challenged me on this issue of truth, you are absolutely right.'"

- Edward Wyatt, "Live on Oprah,' a Memoirist Is Kicked Out of the Book Club," (1-27-06)

I'm amazed at the attitudes some have toward truth. Even in some Christian circles, there is a lot of talk about how "truth" isn't important. The "Jesus Seminar" folks, for example, tell us that the only important thing is that the "myth" of Jesus is alive and well. Whether it's true or not is unimportant. If you dig into that one long enough, you'll discover that the issue of truth is far more important than they suggest because they really want you to conclude that the Bible isn't really true, all you know about Jesus isn't true, and Christian faith isn't based on truth. It seems that truth is actually important, even to those who don't believe Christianity is based on truth.

Of course truth is important. I'll leave all the convoluted discussions up to the theologians and philosophers. In real life, truth counts. Don't believe it? Think with me for just a moment. Is it important for husbands and wives to tell each other the truth, or can they pawn off any old story as long as it sounds good? Do you want the folks you do business with to tell you the truth, or is it OK for them to pawn off junk on you and charge you premium prices for it? Do you want your local politicians to tell you the truth, or is it OK for them to sell your city down the drain as long as the stories they tell make it sound like everything is just fine? People need to get real. Truth matters!

Truth is important in every human discussion. If it's not true, somewhere it will hurt you. If it is true, it still may hurt, but in the long run, the benefits will show. Tell the truth when you speak. Your words convey the content of your character. Truth means one thing. Lies mean another.

© 2006, Bill Denton

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