I was standing at the back of the church sanctuary nearly a decade back, greeting folk as they left and chatting with people when this woman walked up to me. She looked me in the eyes, and took me by the hand and said this, “Brian, only believe the truth.” Her eyes shone.
I said, “What?”
“Only Believe The Truth,” she repeated.
“How did you know I needed to hear this?” I asked.
“Jesus.” She said, simply.
“You will not believe how much I needed to hear this, today,” I told her. “Can I call you or text you when I need a reminder?” I asked.
“Sure. Anytime. All you will need to write is, ‘Tell me again.'” She laughed.
“Thank you,” I told her, seriously, and gave her a hug.
Her phrase staggered me. I had not said a word that morning about what was going on inside me. I had led, preached, and prayed while seeking to dull the constant attack within my head. That constant barrage of gunfire against me. Every bullet a word or phrase sent to malign and undercut my life.
I knew the source, I had prayed against it, but still it was constant, loud, and insistent. I don’t measure up. I am a loser. I am a failure. I won’t amount to anything.
Lies spoken in first person got passed off as real beliefs inside my head. Lenin said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” and unfortunately, since being sexually abused as a kid, I had repeated these lies internally. There were things I needed to see and know in order to heal. While I was unhealed, I was vulnerable to attack. This woman’s word to me to only believe the truth cut through to my heart. In that moment, I realized anew the barrage of words against me were lies not truths.
Having battled lies in the inside of my own heart for decades, I am highly sensitive to lies and a strong proponent of truth. Perhaps this is why this season of restrictions, lockdowns, censorship and rhetoric about “doing all we can to keep our communities safe from the virus” cuts deep.
But what is the truth? Where do we find the truth? How can we discern truth from lies, when everyone has a perspective? True, only Jesus claimed to be the truth “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” he said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). So, truth is ultimately found in His Person.
Back in March, Jesus told me this one phrase which has helped me through this whole season, “It is not about a virus.” Simple, direct, and counters everything being said around me. Jesus was referring to all the efforts, lockdowns, and rhetoric around COVID-19, etc. I’ve returned to this numerous times. Notice, Jesus did not say there was no virus. No, there is a virus, but the stuff surrounding it, the quarantines, are not about a virus.
Talk about a repeated lie, by March the coronavirus and COVID-19 had been mentioned in media some 2.1 billion times. Compared to the mention of HIV (69 million times), SARS (66 million times) and Ebola (16 million times) the difference is staggering.
Why has worldwide media been focused upon this one virus to this extent?
Is it shockingly deadly? No. Current US death rate is 1.7% and if you subtract deaths attributed to COVID-19 which were actually by other causes, it plummets more. (Stats from the above linked website http://www.informationisbeautiful.net). Now, it is sad when people die who could have lived longer. But if this were all about a virus, then drugs found to be effective would have been highly publicized and used.
Is it demonstratively incurable? No. HDQ known to heal SARS-2 which worked well on COVID-19 was removed from the market, some doctors were threatened to lose medical licenses if they used it. Ivermectin an anti-parasitic drug proved 100% successful in trials in Australia. Once discovered as effective in April, was not used worldwide to help heal those with COVID-19. In fact, many have not even heard of it.
So, I believe, there is no need for a vaccine. Many medical doctors agree. This virus can be battled with readily accessible, well-known drugs. But, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” But, then, there also are reputable scientists who disagree with this. Check this out from Behold Israel, who affirm the vaccine. This left me realizing, whatever I believe, I cannot mandate what others believe.
Many of us are feeling sad and outraged over the recent event last week in DC when the capitol Senate and House session was stormed. And even more upset about how the event is retold in media. So, again, what was the truth? Did Trump actually stir up supporters to do the unthinkable and storm the session? Did Antifa or other rogues lead the charge, dressed as Trump supporters?
When I had listened to Trump’s speech, I heard nothing to incite a crowd or stir them up. Certainly, there’s a huge divide over the question about election fraud. But, does anyone have the truth? Mainline media is declaring one version. Others see another. From friends of mine who were there, they experienced a very peaceful, prayerful event until things went crazy.
Whatever motivated the crazy or whomever was behind it, I don’t know. But many people claim they do know this.
For me, this is where truth is really tough to manage. What really happened at the Capitol? We might not ever know. We do know it was breached — which is awful. And we do know several people lost their lives. All of this warranting our prayers.
We are left needing to choose, or making choices about what we believe. As I wrote another week, we will search out whatever aligns with our confirmation bias. We will decide what we believe. Then, whatever we believe about world events or about this world season, still we need to choose what to do with that truth. Once we know where we stand, what do we do?
For this, I have gone back to Jesus who alone was Truth in person. How did he handle not just knowing but being TRUE? Jesus taught, demonstrated and expanded God’s rule within earthly kingdoms. He put God on display, not his own anger. Yes, he felt emotions, all of them, and other than denouncing religious leaders, never led with anger. Instead, Jesus made God glorious in word and deed.
So, to “only believe the truth,” for me begins there: to believe Jesus and to behave like Jesus by making God more glorious through my own life. First, I believe who Jesus is and what He says about me, then, I express this truth in relationship with others, like Jesus did, listening, loving, healing, (expanding God’s Kingdom) and sharing His Good News.
And whatever I believe about a virus or about a world event, I can share this, however, must always do so with kindness, humility and love. To do otherwise maligns the very truth I confess.
So, friend, I don’t know where you might land in all these world situations and events, but believe this Truth — you are known, loved and treasured. Keep giving Jesus a chance in your days. And, in your life, believe Only the Truth.