Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace;
“Let me feel your thumb!”
This was the imperative I frequently heard as a child when my grandmother or father thought I may be creating my own variation of the truth. My father claimed my great grandmother, Jennie, could tell with 100% accuracy if he, or his siblings, and prior to that my own Gram, were speaking the truth, by merely grasping the speaker’s thumb in her delicate clenched hand. I remember testing the theory in private by holding the thumb of my left hand in my clenched right fist and speaking aloud a statement of truth and then a lie to see if anything changed, pulse-rate, beginnings of perspiration. I decided if it was a genetic gift, I certainly did not possess Great-grandma Jennie’s aptitude for untruth detection.
As I grew up though, I wished I did possess her knack for discerning what was true and untrue. That capacity certainly would have come in handy with those with whom I was in relationship whether it was a friend, boyfriend, or student I with whom I was working. It probably would have saved me some harrowing heartbreaks as well. How does one get at and uncover what is true?
Being a philosophy minor I spent countless hours during my university studies debating and reading around the phenomenon of TRUTH. Can truth be subjective, or is there a pure objective truth within the world? Phenomenologists, theologians, scientists, philosophers and a myriad of others all weigh in with respective opinions. Is one only allowed to say what is true for them (even if their truth is shadows on the wall of their life’s cave)? Even the dictionary offers many definitions of “truth: 1. actual state of the matter. 2. conformity with fact or reality. 3. a verified, indisputable fact, proposition, principle or the like. 4. the state or character of being true. 5. actuality or actual existence 6. an obvious or accepted fact; truism, platitude. 7. honesty, integrity, truthfulness." (Websters.com)
Maybe what I required was an Amazonian princess’s accessory to REALLY know. I always loved Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth.
I remember watching the show and marveling at how Wonder Woman could coax any questionable individual into spilling the whole truth with a flick of her wrist and a squeeze of her golden lasso, "Now the world is ready for you, and the wonders you can do. Make a hawk a dove, stop a war with love, make a liar tell the truth." (Wonder Woman Theme Song Lyrics)
"Make a liar tell the truth." I am learning along the journey that the only individual I can MAKE do something is me. As I frequently ask my own children, "Who is the only person you control?" While it is impossible to control another, I do believe INFLUENCE is powerful. Deciding what are absolutes for me will inform how I live and thereby influence the lives of others. This pursuit means truly living as well. What matters? What should my focus be? How do I live my life so it counts? Am I truthful with myself? Do my actions match my words and beliefs with integrity? Each answer begins to weave the fibers of who I am. There are no simple shot answers to these questions. Truthful living requires asking myself everyday and adjusting to answer the best I can.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8