When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. And do not slant your testimony in favour of a person just because that person is poor. Exodus 23:2-3
Telling the truth is absolutely crucial in a healthy society. However uncomfortable and awkward the truth might be, it needs to be proclaimed and followed at all times, or society is in peril. That means that we must not bend the truth even when we are seeking to help vulnerable people. When I first read this verse I thought it was a misprint. Surely the greatest danger is of bending the truth because a person is powerful and influential. But in saying that we mustn’t slant the truth in favour of a poor person, God is saying that we mustn’t play around with the truth whoever the person might be. However sympathetic we might be to a vulnerable and needy person, it is still vital for us to uphold the truth.
I have no doubt that we all seek to tell the truth. We have been brought up to do so and we know it’s the correct thing to do. But these verses are right in identifying the pressure of the crowd. If we have views that are very different from those around us it can be extremely difficult for us to stand up for what we know to be the truth. We don’t want to stand out and feel stupid. If a particularly unpopular person at work is being unfairly criticised or mocked, it would be much easier to keep quiet than to stand up for them. But truth and justice would demand that we do precisely that.
Our conviction that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life is not a generally held view. However, if we are convinced that it is indeed the truth, then we need to be willing to share it, however hostile or offensive the reaction. Speaking the truth is our calling as Christians, whatever the audience, subject or reaction.
In what situations do you find it difficult to speak the truth?
Loving Father, help me to be utterly truthful in everything that I say today. Amen