Fifteen to twenty years ago, media ecologists were noticing how the increase in dialogue on the telephone meant that certain nonverbal aspects of communication were omitted. This trend has accelerated in our day, leaving us with essentially two broad mediums of communication: virtual (through a keyboard) and direct (through audible speech, body language, etc.). The duality has given rise to divergent communication patterns, with perhaps one of the clearest pertaining to tone. People can be apt to offend and be mean-spirited when behind a keyboard, but they are often concerned not to offend in face-to-face interactions. Either way, the truth is often obscured in favor of something else—hammering away on one’s viewpoint on the one hand or taking too much care not to offend on the other. Today, as in ancient Israel, “truth is lacking” (Isa. 59:15); indeed, “truth has perished” (Jer. 7:28).
In this context, the honesty of the biblical authors is refreshing. Paul is perhaps most notable in this regard. Although he was accused of duplicity (2 Cor. 1:12–24), he walked with integrity and spoke the truth in love whether by pen or by voice (1 Cor. 4:4, 18–21). How many people do we know who are like Paul in this regard, who are willing to be honest with us when it is truly for our benefit even if such honesty may hurt our feelings? It’s rare because it’s not easy. It takes genuine love and concern to overcome the awkwardness of telling someone the truth.
This is why it’s important to regularly compare what we’re hearing and believing against Scripture. We are told lies every day—from marketing companies, from other people, from Satan, and even from our own flesh (Ps. 5:4). Scripture is the place we go to hear the truth. There, we find unadulterated truth. No ulterior motives. No flattery. No sugarcoating. It presents a truthful picture of reality by pulling back the curtain to give us a glimpse of how things really are—and only by knowing how things really are can we endure this life with hope (Rom. 15:13).
Because life in a fallen world means being surrounded by lies, the Christian walk is by faith and not by sight as long as this world endures (2 Cor. 5:7). By faith, we see things that are invisible to the naked eye. For example, Christ reigns on high, but it takes the eye of faith to see this (Heb. 2:8). Similarly, our present suffering is comparatively minuscule and even preparatory for the glory that we will experience for eternity (2 Cor. 4:17). For this reason, Christians “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (v. 18). Not only are the unseen realities true—they’re eternal. The false allurements of ill-gotten money, illicit sex, and ungodly power are indeed seen, but they’re transient and lead to misery and destruction (Prov. 12:19; 14:12).
Let us regularly sit under the Word of God, privately and corporately, for “the sum of [God’s] word is truth” (Ps. 119:160). Only the Lord speaks the truth (Isa. 45:19); to Him we must come if we want to hear it.