You Won’t Handle the Truth! #TraditionallySouthside

I heard an astounding statistic yesterday. The majority of Americans do not believe there is such a thing as absolute truth. Just to make that clear, they don’t believe that there are truths that are unchanging, undeniable, or unalterable. In theology, that would include things like good and evil, right and wrong, salvation only in the name of Jesus. Everything depends on your personal perspective, and situational ethics is the rule of the day. Now, it is not surprising to me that the majority of Americans do not believe in absolute truth. I encounter that every day in personal conversations, through social media, and on the news. We live in a world that denies truth even when it is absolutely obviously true.

So, what, you may ask, was so astounding about the statistic I heard yesterday? The same is true for American Christian Evangelicals. Folks like me. Baptists. Conservative. Now, I’ve been around long enough doing what I do to know that there have always been some of these people even in the churches where I served. What amazes me is that it has now reached staggering proportions. However, that simple truth explains a great deal. It explains why our society is in a rapid death-spiral into the abyss of immorality. If the Salt and the Light has quit being the salt and the light, what is left to preserve and flavor and illuminate Truth? What is left to constrain evil and promote holiness? Once the number of people who are willing to stand in the gap and hold off the pagan hordes seeking to take over the world, how can we possibly hold back the flood of wickedness?

It also explains a phenomenon I have witnessed in recent years. Please understand when I say this that I know that for many people truth has always been relative. By that I mean that even Christians are willing to withhold the truth, manipulate the truth, deny the truth, and flat out lie. Half-truths and innuendos. Things left unsaid leaving implications that are not true. Why? To protect ourselves? To make us look better than we are? To hurt others? Surely there are a myriad of reasons known only to the perpetrators of the lies. But there is an absolute truth that I would share with you: liars go to hell. Revelation 21:8 makes that clear. Those whose lives are characterized by lying demonstrate that they have never experienced the transforming power of God’s grace that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now, let me offer a moment of absolute truth and honesty. I am sure that some will latch on to what I am about to write and use it against me and every other Christian they encounter. All I can do is put it out there with the disclaimer that I am no different than you. The good news is that while I have failed in living the truth at times, the Holy Spirit has always been there to immediately bring conviction resulting in confession and repentance. So here it is. I have been both the victim and the perpetrator of these practices. Too often, and by that know that even once is too often, I have witnessed and even participated, and for that, I am eternally sorrowful. Having said that, I strive daily to be completely truthful, and my life is characterized by honesty and not deceit. But like you, sometimes I stumble. And it is only by the grace of God that I get up and walk in the Light.

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