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The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

May 29, 2013, 1:01 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; ……” (Psalm 51:6)

If you are a ‘regular’ at any law court you must have heard this line said over and over again – ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’ In a bid to elicit the whole truth and nothing but the truth from either the plaintiff or the defendant the court must know the truth, the plain truth – unadulterated, un-doctored. Truth is truth, there are no half-truths. It’s either you are telling the truth or you are telling a lie. There are no variations of the truth. Truth cannot be discoloured or of different shades. To tell you the truth, there is just one truth, there are no two truths. To ensure that the whole truth is revealed, legal minds have sought to plug any loopholes by having people swear on oath that they are telling the simple truth. In spite of the oath, not all of the truth is told.

Lie detectors have been introduced lately to limit the damage but the truth is still being compromised. Towards the end of his ministry, Jesus promised to send the Spirit of truth “he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)  The Holy Spirit led the apostle Peter into ‘all truth’ when Ananias and Sapphira lied about their property that they had sold of their own volition to assist the poor. “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?” (Acts 5:3) The Holy Spirit will reveal to us every lie of the devil – “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Jesus qualified Satan “as one not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language.” 

Telling the truth is one of the world’s biggest problems. Where a simple yes or no would have sufficed, people will go to any extent to hide the truth just to save their skin; others take pleasure, out of habit, to deform the truth and would not be bothered at all. Such people lie with every breath they take. In some circles sugarcoating the truth is ‘permissible’ if only to win your constituent’s vote. However long it takes, one day the truth will surface no matter the length of time we chose to sit on it. Jesus said: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Matthew 10:26) We are called to seek the truth and pursue it. We must not only desire the truth always but live by it as well. We must also be careful we are not misled into believing a lie.

Eve believed Satan’s lie and humankind has been in a dilemma ever since. “Did God really say, you must not eat fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.’ (Genesis 3:1, 4) But that was not what God said: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Satan had added a lie in order to deceive; “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) Eve believed Satan’s lie. She believed that God was not working in their best interest because he denied them one thing.

God takes telling a lie seriously and therefore as part of the ten commandments he instructed: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.” (Deuteronomy 5:20) Lying hurts and can break up families, destroy homes, start a war, ruin a person’s life, sow seeds of discord and estrange relationships. Whereas truth cements ties, builds confidence, and is a fountain of love. Only the truth will set us free. Jesus said: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) We need to cultivate a relationship with the truth (Jesus) so the world will know whose we are.   

During the interrogatory session Pilate had with Jesus to determine his guilt following the accusations of the Pharisees and Sadducees, he enquired from Jesus: “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied: “Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about it?” (John 18:54-35) As the exchange continued, Jesus made a statement: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest, by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (verse 36) “You are a king then?” asked Pilate. Jesus answered: “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth. Every one on the side of truth listens to me.”  (verse 37) In other words, Jesus was saying to Pilate, I am the truth. We conclude that Truth is a person and that person is Jesus Christ.

Earlier Jesus had declared: “I am the truth and the way and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) In the Gospel of John chapter 6 Jesus repeatedly affirmed: “I tell you the truth,” (verses 26, 32, 47, 53) People needed to hear the truth, so he made it a point to emphasise the truth.

No one teaches a child to lie; it comes naturally as part of his adamic nature – sometimes out of fear that s/he will receive a trashing. We need to train our children not to indulge in this practice that sooner or later can grow into uncontrollable dimensions. “Train a child the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Pilate was given the opportunity to know and learn about the truth, but he shrugged it off with; “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Mark you he did not say ‘what is the truth?’ Truth is telling it straight, like it is – undiluted; not like the Pharisees who were misleading the Jews with lies wanted to hear it.

In a law court, the judge literally stretches his/her imagination in search of the truth and not just the truth but the absolute truth – because the truth is hidden. Well, Jesus Christ is that truth. He is knocking at the door of your heart. Please open for the TRUTH to walk in.