"So then, putting away falsehood, let all us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members one of another . . . Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear." - Ephesians 4: 17 – 5: 1
Lots of attention these days, rightly so, to things that pollute the air, the water, the soil. Paul knew, and reminds us, that there is such a thing as verbal pollution. Moreover, its consequences are serious. Careless words, distortions and lies, fracture trust and destroy life. Truth is elusive and hard to come by. Figuring out what is true, listening for truth, speaking truth; it's hard work. It requires something of us. Often today we settle for some odd substitute, something Stephen Colbert called "truthiness." "Truthiness" is something that sounds true, something that we (or someone) wish were true but is not. It only sounds like truth. How can we distinguish truth from its many facsimiles?
Truth is elusive. Truth is relational. Truth is not two-sided; it's many sided. Truth doesn’t always test well. Truth invites you back for another look." Paul is not asking us to say only "nice words." He is calling us to something harder and better; to listen for, struggle to find, and work to speak truth.
Prayer: Lord, where I might settle today for half-truths and easy words, help me struggle for the deep, many-sided truth that draws me back for another look. Amen.