Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Truth, what is truth? Webster’s Dictionary defines truth as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” What then is objective truth?Webster’s definition of objective truth is, “expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices or interpretations.” In this hyper-critical age we live in, where everyone critiques everyone else, even the truth is critiqued. The critiquing of truth is called subjective truth. How does Webster’s Dictionary define subjective truth? Subjective truth is “relating to or determined by the mind as the subject of experiencing subjective reality.” Today, we live in a world where truth is seen more often as subjective rather than objective. Truth is guided more often by emotion than by facts and reality. This leads to truth itself being critiqued in this hyper-critical age. What happens when universal truths are no longer accepted by the majority of society? It leads to chaos because society cannot gather around a set of truths that govern our lives.

As much as objective truth is challenged today, it nevertheless does not diminish the fact that there is objective truth. Objective truth must be respected by all people and especially by those in the medical profession, the law, education, journalism and in religion. Doctors, psychologists, judges, law­yers, teachers, journalists, bishops, priests and ministers are not in an en­viable position because they must protect the integrity of objective truth. People’s lives depend on it.

As Christian Communities, we have a responsibility to ensure that truth is never sacrificed to avoid prosecution. Truth provides the Christian faithful salvation and grace. Truth guides our lives and even provides the basis for correction. Truth must always be offered with profound charity which reveals the presence of Jesus Christ in each word spoken. When truth is not spoken with love and concern for the spiritual health and well-being of others, we end up following the ill-mannered culture we live in and offer critiques to others not with the objectivity of giving sincere guidance and correction but rather to be cruel and vicious to others.

Jesus tells us that we are responsible to one another, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” (Mt. 18:15-20) That responsibility extends to not only correcting wrongdoing but also to give guidance to the offender in how to live the Christian life. Jesus does not avoid talking about difficult subjects with those who come to him for healing and forgiveness. He does not offer a quick miracle and then sends people off to figure it out for themselves; he provides guidance and correction to the sinner. Jesus asks us to offer the same guidance, correction and forgiveness to one another in his name: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:20)

The truth Jesus spoke to help bring healing and new life to others led him to the cross.  Guidance and correction even offered in a loving manner was not easily accepted. Paul writes in his letter to Romans that they should live their lives with a singular focus: To love one another. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor.” (Rom. 13:9-10)   There is no room in our hearts for evil toward others inside or outside of the Christian Community, even when we are being persecuted for the truth. Paul lost his life because he spoke a message of truth. The truth Paul spoke was a message of love. The living out of the truth of God’s love is an outward manifestation of the presence of God.

In the same way, God did not send Ezekiel to the people of Israel with a message of condemnation, rather he sent a message of love and repentance: “I have appointed a watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. (Ezek.33:7-9) The warning God sends Ezekiel to give is a message; a message of salvation and salvation comes through the grace of God. The message of salvation and grace finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

We as members of the Christian Community must live our lives always seeking God’s truth and never allowing the fear of truth to divide and separate us. The Christian always seeks reconciliation and peace. To reconcile ourselves with God and our neighbor means accepting the truth of our lives. From acceptance comes internal peace. Psalm 95 exhorts us to respond to God’s truth: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”