To Tell the Truth

Having grown up on a dairy farm in East Tennessee, I recall our first television—black and white, three channels that came in “clear(ly),” along with a few others that could barely be seen or heard because of “snow” and static.  Life was grand simply because we had a television!

Last night Debbie and I returned home from Indianapolis and put away our travel gear, then settled in the family room.  There I twisted a small knob and the fireplace roared to life, grabbed the remote control, and pushed one button.  Several pieces of electronic equipment came to life, including the television hanging on the wall.

Watching the Cowboys and Falcons game, I was struck by the thoughts of how things have changed since childhood.  When it comes to the technological changes, I’m thankful for most, although I don’t know what most of those buttons even do or how to use all of them!

However, not all changes since my childhood have been good.  For example,  serious philosophical changes have taken place as well.  Most parents (in those days it was a father and mother) were in charge in our homes, and when children got confused, thinking they were the ones in charge, a paddle or switch or belt served as a reminder (and it wasn’t child abuse).

When those same children went to school, the teachers (whom parents seemed to know and respect) took the leadership role.  Some of us as students would think periodically that maybe we could be in charge, but a paddle in every classroom (or in the principal’s office, for sure—but that one was often a larger version of the classroom’s)—reminded us of who was truly in charge! (Standing in the corner was for sissies!)

Parenthetically, there seemed to be a strange link between parents and the school.  By the time I returned home, mom knew when I had been “disciplined”!  The problem was this—I received another spanking from mom upon arrival home, and again from dad when he came home from work.  (You would have thought I would have learned more quickly!)  <sigh>

But I digress … back to the old black and white television … There was an NBC show called “Truth or Consequences,” with another, originally a CBS production by Mark Goodman and Bill Todman, called “To Tell the Truth,” hosted by Bud Collyer.  Remember the days when our parents, teachers, and pastors taught us to always tell the truth?

Why?—because truth creates trust.  Like the old commercial for antifreeze, “If you can’t trust Prestone, who can you trust?!”  (I guess there must be another school with different kinds of teachers for politicians these days!  And surely they aren’t all members of Jeremiah Wright’s version of “truth!”)

This leads me, in a roundabout way, to my point.  After months of political advertisements ad nauseam, many Americans are left wondering if there is any truth-telling at all in American politics.  There is not one truth of Democrats and another truth for Republicans!  There is only truth.  When anyone takes a truth and spins it for their own purposes, it is no longer truth but a falsehood—a lie.  And when Americans have difficulty sorting through all the lies (someone said that a half-truth is a whole lie), the result is invariably distrust, which explains the horrible ratings for congress.

However, our nation must not succumb to the feelings of “What’s the use?” or to indifference or ambivalence.  The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!  Every citizen—especially every believer-citizen—should constantly search out the truth.  We must stand with those who are honest, who have proven themselves to be men and women of good character.

Yesterday, my friend Pastor Rick Cochran stressed to his congregation—both before and after I had presented SALUTE! (a one-hour patriotic show of live music, visualizations, and narration)—“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  That was yesterday.

Today, contemplating the current conditions of our country—educationally, ethically, financially, morally, politically, and spiritually—surely each of us yearns for improvements.  Improvement must begin in people.  America needs a revival of old-fashioned patriotism, parenting, and principle-centered thinking.

We must determine individually in our hearts to be people of good character, godly convictions, and great courage.  With that kind of revival, America could turn around beginning with tomorrow’s elections.  Without that kind of repentance and commitment, America will continue travelling a trail destructive to both individuals and nations.

Truth or consequences?  Well, to tell the truth, both truth and falsehood have consequences.  However, the long-term results of truth are always favorable, whereas the falsehood always leads to difficulty and disaster.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in asking God to work mightily in the hearts of Americans during this election process?  Truly, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

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