These two words have been in my head germinating and percolating for the last couple of weeks. I discovered that there is a book by that title as well.  Recently  I’ve  heard several speakers use the two words in a sermon or speech.

The more I’ve been thinking about “Truth Decay” the more I realize how these two words accurately describe what I sense is going on all over the country.

In one sense, experiencing the truth decaying, disappearing and not being valued any longer is nothing  new. It goes all the way back to the garden of Eden where the enemy lied to Eve.

Here are some examples which come to mind:

Kids lie to their parents: Kids learn to lie at an early age. They can look you right in the eyes, tell you a bold-faced lie and keep a straight face while doing it. Our kids did it and if you have kids they may have done it as well.

Parents lie to their kids: They make promises they don’t intend to keep and do so to keep the kids off their backs or keep them happy for awhile. Over time it builds skepticism and cynicism which can last a lifetime. Parents can shade the truth and tell half-truths  so as not to offend or hurt their kid’s feelings or to protect themselves from their own perceived failures. They can find it difficult admitting they were wrong or have sinned in some way so, lie instead.

Leaders in the church lie to their people: Instead of owning their sin, confessing and repenting, they cover it up or lie about it. Truth-telling leaders in the body of Christ are becoming fewer in number. For example, letting a staff person go but not telling the whole truth as to why that person was removed–actually lying and giving a reason which was not the real reason at all. Fear of legal action? Embarrassed that it even happened?

Followers not willing to speak truth to power: Followers in the church, in business or at school see something wrong or unethical but decide to not say anything. What’s the saying? “If you see something say something?” But we don’t. We look the other way, sweep it under the rug.  We give leaders a pass because they are so competent and are achieving such amazing results. Who wants to be the whistle-blower on a popular and successful leader? Let someone else do it—not me!

Husbands and wives can go  for years holding back truth from each other so as not to offend or hurt their loved one’s  feelings. Then when the real truth comes out at some point and the person realizes they’ve been deceived and lied to for years, bad things may really begin to happen.

Government leaders (on both sides of the aisle) are not telling the full truth on issues. It’s not only the Republicans or Democrats who are not telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but politicians of every stripe.  Sometimes  my wife Susan and I will be watching the news with two political figures duking  it out over some issue and I will look at her and say, “Someone is not telling the truth, but we don’t know which one it is.”

“Fake News” (Truth Decay) is ubiquitous—especially on overly-opinionated and partisan  news programs,  as well as what you can read on social media.

I must confess that I am guilty at times of shading the truth or telling half-truths,  for a variety of reasons,  and am trusting God for changes in this area of my life. 

Here are some verses which are helping me deal with Truth Decay in my own life and work:

“Love and truth form a good  leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity. Proverb 20:28 The Message

“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests and not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.” Luke 6:26 The Message

“…how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,” Acts 20:20 ESV

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:27  ESV

“For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.” Galatians 6:14 The Message

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians  4:15 ESV

It’s my deepest desire to not be so truthful that I’m not loving, but neither to be so loving that I’m not truthful.

If you saw the movie, “A Few Good Men, ” you may recall Jack Nicholson’s character shout to Tom’s Cruise’s character, “You can’t handle the truth.” 

I need to trust God when I attempt to tell the truth—not hold back for fear the person can’t handle it. Say it lovingly, sensitively and prayerfully, but say it! I want, by His grace, to say what I believe  people need to hear, not only what they want to hear. 

Maybe my fear (our fear)  is, to a large degree, a matter of having my worth and value  wrapped up in wanting to be liked, popular, admired and respected and not saying anything that would jeopardize that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on “Truth Decay.”