In a recent report, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a dire warning: “…The world is moving in the wrong direction and faces dangerous trends…[and] is under ‘enormous stress.'” He laments how injustice is bringing people into the streets to protest, “while conspiracy theories and lies fuel deep divisions within societies.”
The Secretary-General urged global action to deal with disinformation and conspiracy theories. He proposed facts, science, and “integrity” in public discourse. He then ended with this plea, “We must make lying wrong again.” I could not get this statement out of my mind. Here we have a world leader sounding almost like an evangelist: “We need to stop lying…” to which we all can say, “Amen.”
How can this be accomplished in our broken world? My contention is that it can only happen slowly, and that courageous men need to come forth, stand in the gap, and dare to live by the truth. The problem is that many men are missing in action, having abandoned the truth. In her important book, “Crisis in Masculinity” Leanne Payne notes, “The power to honor the truth – to speak it and be it – is at the heart of true masculinity.” She goes on to say, “A culture will never become decadent in the face of a healthy, balanced masculinity…When a nation or an entire western culture backslides, it is the masculine which is first to decline.”
As followers of Jesus, we as men can lead in making lying wrong again. Jesus tells us in John 18:37, “…For this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He tells his followers, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). In his high priestly prayer, Jesus prays, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (John 17:17 NLT).
In our day, with so much deception and verbal wrangling over what is true, it seems to me that we as men need to be integrated in our understanding of truth. Here are three factors to consider in our battle to “make lying wrong again.”
First, truth must be the basis of our worldview and assimilated into our very being. It is similar to the experience of Jeremiah: “When I discovered your words, I devoured them” (Jer. 15:16 NLT). The NET notes, “The prophet accepted them, assimilated them, and made them such a part of himself that he spoke with complete assurance what he knew were God’s words.”
Secondly, truth must be allowed to penetrate our inner life, so that we have not only an intellectual grasp of the truth, but we also seek to know the truth about ourselves, our relationships, and the world in which we live. Truth is relational because Jesus is Truth – and we can relate to him as Savior and Friend. Truth (meaning Christ) in a man needs to affect one’s whole being (Gal. 2:20).
Thirdly, we must walk out truth in life. Oh, that God would raise up more men of integrity. These are honest, courageous men, who have not only been pruned by the truth, but men who are willing to put their very lives on the line for the truth. That would make us martyrs. Might you become a martyr for the truth – in both the big things and the little things?