Proverbs is the name of the ancient book of Wisdom in the Bible. It is a collection of sayings that shed light on how to live with wisdom and discernment in the world. The ancients were preoccupied with wisdom; in fact, a whole section of the Old Testament was devoted to looking for what is true.
A large number of those proverbial sayings concern truth versus falsehood. Says the Proverbs, “A reliable witness ALWAYS tells the truth, but an unreliable one tells nothing but lies,” Proverbs 14:5. In other words, people do not tend to believe someone who lies.
“Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool,” Proverbs 19:1. Yet, it is not uncommon today to hear people who claim to be godly and ethical accept the lies of a leader and call them inconsequential if the leader is giving the populace what they want.
Like the rats that followed the Pied Piper or the Lemmings that blindly follow each other. people who do not call a lie what it is are on a road to self-destruction. So also are those who idolize a liar, either left or right, liberal or conservative. A liar is nothing more than that – a liar.
A society that can do no good, except by lying, has lost its soul. “What you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouthful of sand,” Proverbs 20:17.
Making lies better than truth, in effect, lowers the integrity bar and produces a society in which you cannot trust anything. (See the poem called “Truth.”) Elevating lies also removes the ground of integrity. A parent can no longer demand truth-telling from her/his children. Nor can a society demand that truth be told in regard to crimes committed, frauds against honored institutions, or opacity between friends and family members.
The loss of truth is a devastating event which causes the collapse of genteel society. The loss of truth enables the rise of corrupt people who operate only out of self-interest. They will smile at you while metaphorically stabbing you in the back.
The multiplication of supposedly “christian” individuals who turn their backs on truth and adopt a cynical point of view gives in to the prevailing darkness of our times. They abdicate their responsibility as truth finders and truth tellers in favor of those who tell them what they want to hear, regardless of its truthfulness.
The best comment I’ve found on our times is an ancient saying from Proverbs. “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth,” Proverbs 12:22. Enough said.