Tuesday, May 3, 2016

JADED - 3 Ways to Overcome a Dishonest World

 If you love life
    and want to live a good, long time,
Take care with the things you say.
    Don’t lie or spread gossip or talk about improper things.
Walk away from the evil things of the world,
    and always seek peace and pursue it.
~ Psalm 34:12-14, VOICE ~

Am I the only one who has noticed the rapid disintegration of universal truth, of right and wrong, of common decency in today's culture?  

It seems everywhere we turn today moral relativism fractures the foundation under us.  What was wrong 10 years ago is considered perfectly acceptable today.  We have become increasingly desensitized to things that would have had us aghast in the recent past.

While some may point fingers at people like President Bill Clinton, who lied under oath with barely any lasting effect, this whole slippery slope might well be traced back to his insecure predecessor, President Richard Nixon, who eroded trust with the deception of the Watergate scandal.  Surely there were secrets and manipulations that occurred long before these very public falls from grace.  However, it seems the advent of television ushered such things into our homes in the past 60 years, fueling this fairly rapid decline.

Whatever the cause, we are left these days wondering who we can trust.  While we are desensitized to lying because everyone seems to be quite proficient at it these days, we are also a bit jaded, almost expecting that we cannot rely on the words or behavior of another.  This creates all sorts of havoc for us in our relationships on a variety of levels.

For starters, we don't trust the professionals.  I don't.  I recall doctors being less than forthright with me on more than one occasion.  My youngest daughter was led to believe she had one certain diagnosis for eleven years before the truth was revealed.  I remember educators distorting the facts to manipulate outcomes in the academic setting.  The silence was deafening when those distortions were confronted.  Yes, I am jaded.

We don't believe in anyone but ourselves.  I fell into this trap at one point in time.  If I want assurance that things will be done right, I insist on doing them myself.  This is especially true when it comes to critical medical decisions, home treatments or therapies.

We even mistrust God without reservation.  I am guilty.  I have doubted God's love for me and refuted the notion that He has my best in mind because of bad circumstances.  I lower God to the level of my fellow humans, who deceive one another without a second thought.  
So, how do we lose this jaded perspective and pursue Truth in a world where lies are the norm?
  • Realize that there IS Absolute Truth. -- Open up your Bible.  The Truth in God's Word is timeless.  It doesn't change with popular culture or the latest fads. (See Hebrews 13:8)  And ultimately, Jesus tells us He IS the Truth. (See John 14:6)  The bottom line is that when a world of deception swirls around us, we can be certain to find complete reliability in our One True North.
  • If you value the truth, SPEAK the truth. -- Trust is a give and take proposition.  If we want to be trusted by others, we must be trustworthy ourselves.  This means that we address others with candor and honesty, even when it is difficult.  It means we humble ourselves, admit when we are wrong, and own our mistakes.  It includes addressing our children this way at a very young age.  The result is like a giant breath of fresh air in a world polluted by lying.
  • Make it EASY for others to be truthful. -- The more we lash out at others who are admitting to wrong or sharing an honest opinion, the harder we make it for them to tell us the truth.  Our kids live to please us, so if we want to pass on the habits of integrity and credibility, we need to find ways to give them more mercy when they are truthful with us.  Similar approachability is necessary with our spouses, professionals, and service providers.
Friends, in an increasingly complex world, we need to get back to foundational living.  While there is ultimately only One who we can trust without reservation, we can foster more transparency in the world around us.  The truth begins by finding its home in each of us.

PRAY:  Jesus, thank You for being our unfailing Truth in a dishonest world.  Help us embrace habits of truthfulness, so that we spread it to all those around us.

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