In the Soviet Union, there were newspapers named Pravda and Izvestia. Pravda is Russian for ‘truth’, and Izvestia is Russian for ‘news’. There was an old Russian joke that in Truth there was no news, and in News there was no truth. Until recently, that joke rarely was applied to American news sources, but we do live in interesting times.
But, what is truth?
In the sci-fi series Babylon 5, Ambassador Kosh famously said, “Understanding is a three-edged sword.” This was meant to represent that there is “my side”, “your side” and the truth. Understanding is where these meet in the middle.
Babylon 5 was a place where humans and aliens tried to achieve peace through diplomacy. However, there was a lot of political intrigues in the story line. In one sense, it was a warning about the developing politics of the late 1990’s. Unfortunately, I can look around today and see that very few have paid heed to the warning. In a similar vein, much of today’s politics is downright Orwellian, except that in many cases it is a collusion of government and big business that has a chilling effect upon the general population.
When it comes to politics in this country, the diagram of understanding looks more like this.
Notice how little truth there is and how little common ground. Notice as well that there is no understanding as a result. Neither side understands the other at all, it would seem. Neither side of our political spectrum can even agree upon what the truth is.
Our 24 hour news cycle encourages this type of polarization. It is an instigator of polarization.
Jon Stewart says. ‘‘Twenty-four-hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11. There are very few events that would justify being covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So in the absence of urgency, they have to create it. You create urgency through conflict.’’
Do you allow yourself to get caught up in the controversies of this world? Do you take sides in political debates? Neither side has all the truth, let alone a monopoly on it.
However, there is someone who embraces truth and radiates truth in such a way that He is described as truth.
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.~ Jn 14:6
Here is a Venn diagram of God’s side, your side and the truth. Note that the circles of God’s side and the truth are essentially one and the same.
In the KJV of the Bible, the word “truth” is used 224 times. Perhaps that should give some indication of how important it is.
Some people believe in the power of positive thinking. Some will use Php 4 to bolster their claims.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.~ Php 4:8 (NKJV)
True, these are positive things. However, this time of year when we begin our self-examination, you might want to look closely at these things. Are these things we can examine ourselves against to see how we match up? Just as important, are these the things we fill our minds with? Politics is the opposite of these things. When we deal with others, do we think of them in light of these qualities, or do we consider them political foes to be defeated in a winner-takes-all attitude?
Note the first attribute listed. “Whatever things are true,” it says. Thinking positive things is only good if they are true. As far as that goes, thinking negative things is only good if they are true. When we take stock of our spiritual lives, do we view ourselves as we truly are? When we deal with others, do we view them as they truly are? In fact, we should ask ourselves if we view God as He really is. Most in the world do not, after all, and we can fall into the same trap — if we are not vigilant.
Twelve step programs talk about taking an inventory. It is a pretty messy affair, usually. It is very similar to our notion of self-examination. We should acknowledge our weaknesses and recognize our areas of overcoming. However, it is important to not exaggerate either. It is important that we do so in truth.
It is also important that we view the world in truth. Mankind cannot govern himself. HWA often stated that is the lesson humanity must learn. What government should we as Christians be supporting?
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.~ Mt 6:33 (HCSB)
A kingdom is a form of government. The Gospel is about the government of God. This is a fundamental truth that HWA restored to the Church. God is a God of truth, and His government is about truth, justice, mercy and faith (Mt 23:23; Ps 119:142; Jn 14:6; 18:37).
Jesus told Pilate in Jn 18:36 that “My kingdom is not of this world”. Whose world do we live in? I think we know the answer. 2Co 4:4 says that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They are spiritually blind, and therefore they cannot see the truth.
We need to face the truth about politics. It is the way of the world, and we know that the god of this age has perverted government as much as anything else in this world. In fact, in a secular society, where human beings view truth as being relative or even non-existent, even science is no longer their religion. Instead, politics becomes their religion.
I want to remind you where we are going. I want to remind you of the ultimate goal, which will be free of the political mudslinging, manipulation and intrigue that exists today.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”~ Rev 21:3-4 (NIV)
As we examine ourselves, let us humbly disentangle ourselves from this world. Let our understanding become God’s understanding, which is the same as the truth.