To Tell the Truth
Yesterday was more interesting than usual in the hallowed halls of our government. The President was in Vietnam for a second summit with North Korean leader Kin Jong-Un while former Trump fixer Michael Cohen was being grilled about his involvement with potential violations involving the president. These two stories dominated the news (well, at least the twenty minutes that I watch). But it is likely that both of these stories are more about heat than light… and much more smoke than either. There’s an old saying that you can tell when a politician is lying because their lips are moving. The two conversations going on now are prime examples of the truthfulness of that adage.
But here’s an interesting twist on the truism. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum has come up with an ingenious defense of the president over Cohen. He said that the president “fairly consistently” lies about a lot of things, so we can’t expect him not to being lying when he talks about Russia. Here’s the quote—
“The president doesn’t tell the truth about a lot of things fairly consistently. So the fact that he’s not telling the truth about Russia fairly consistently, at least in the eyes of the people around here, why is that any different? I mean, it’s not like he’s doing something out of character with the Russia investigation, that he’s not doing in other areas.”
So there’s no collusion with Russia. The president consistently lies about a lot of things, so when he talks about the Russia investigation, he is being perfectly consistent in not telling the truth about that. And that’s a defense?
Mr. Cohen is a convicted liar. Mr. Trump, according to one of his defenders, “doesn’t tell the truth about a lot of things fairly consistently.” So how is anyone to know what the truth is when we have liars discussing the lies of people who consistently lie?
This isn’t about politics. This is about the truth. Paul tells us that we serve a God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). We follow Christ who is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The Word of God that we follow and that sanctifies us is truth (John 17:17). The community that we share in this Christ calls us to never lie to one another (Col 3:9). One characteristic of the self-serving, pagan world is that they “traded the truth of God for a lie” (Rom 1:25). Sure, a judicious and skillful using of lying can be instrumentally helpful at times (“I have no knowledge of that Senator”). But the one thing that lies cannot do is serve the truth. “No lie comes from the truth.” (1 John 2:21). And we are also assured the final destiny of those who are liars—not some liars, but all liars (Rev 21:8)
Honesty is not the best policy.It is the absolutely essential characteristic of those who would follow Christ as disciples.We are called to tell the truth.