So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.

Isaiah 59:14

 

Words about lies, truth, and politics spray painted on a wall in the street.As I reflect on Isaiah 59:14, I’m struck by the phrase, “Truth has stumbled in the streets.” A more literal translation might read: “Truth totters in the square.” According to Isaiah, honesty was disappearing from the gathering places in towns and cities. This criticism applied to public officials as well as to everyday citizens. Deceit ruled the day.

Sound familiar? Far too familiar, I fear. In our day, truth continues to “stumble in the streets” as political leaders “misspeak,” as candidates “spin,” as religious leaders are discovered to have secret lives of sin, as business executives deceive their stockholders, and as our society seems to be drowning in a flood of “fake news.” Yet, even as we see our leaders squander the truth, we must admit how tempting it is for us to be less than truthful in our personal and professional lives. When we mess up at work, are we willing to own our mistakes? What about in our families? If we see our friends making terrible choices for their lives, are we bold enough to say something in love? Or do we stand back because we don’t want to get our hands dirty?

The God of truth calls us to speak and live truthfully, at home and at work, in church and “in the streets.” Our truthfulness reflects God’s own character and sets us apart in a world where, it seems, “honesty cannot enter.” There may be times when our commitment to the truth will be unpopular. It may cost us friends, political advantage, or even our jobs. But our truthfulness honors the Lord and contributes to his work in the world.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

In your life, where does truth tend to stumble?

Are there areas in your work life where you struggle with being truthful?

What might you do today to live more truthfully?

PRAYER:

Gracious God, as it was in the day of Isaiah, so it is today. Truth has stumbled in our streets, on the airwaves, in print, and on the internet. And, if I’m going to be honest, I sometimes fail to be truthful in my own life. A “little white lie” here and there makes life so much easier.

Forgive me, Lord, for my contribution to the lack of truthfulness in our world. Help me to become a person who speaks and lives the truth. May I do so with love and with boldness.

Help your people, dear Lord, to be filled with truth. May we speak and live in such a way that people see you and your truth through us. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentaryTruthtelling is the Norm in the Bible