Jesus spoke out with passion against hypocrisy. He loved truth, and described the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth”. The Pharisees perceived him as a man who would never dress up the facts or put a spin on reality to make a good impression – a man of integrity who could be relied on to speak the truth.
Our passages from Ephesians bring in a further dimension – not only speaking but embodying truth. Our dealings should be transparent, and our lives characterized by holiness, as part of our commitment to truth. We are to be true as an arrow flies true, deflected by nothing, going straight to the target – “what pleases the Lord”.
In our passage from Ephesians 4, we are encouraged to “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires”. A desire is not something we are used to thinking of in terms of dishonesty, and yet the things that catch our eye and take our fancy can often play us false, leading us into lifestyles or purchases that will do us no good and not lead to lasting happiness. Instead, we are urged “to be made new in the attitude of your minds”, as the letter to the Romans (12:2) puts it: “Do not conform … to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
A true statement is easy to define, but what is a true life, a true heart, or true righteousness?
Is speaking the truth always advisable? Are there alternatives that we might choose without compromising our integrity?
Jesus said that the truth will set us free. Can you think of examples showing how this is so, from everyday life?
O God, you came to us in Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Give us the grace to choose his living Way, and to become the friends and constant companions of Jesus the Truth, so that we catch the habit and learn the discipline of his absolute integrity, in the very detail of our lives; for we ask it in his holy name; Amen.