December 20, 2016
Truth is Reality Unblurred by Distance and Time
By Donald G. Mashburn
The former NBC news anchor Brian Williams was not the first voice accepted as reliable by many that got bit by the “serpent of deceit” and was exposed for having embellished accounts of his reporting in Iraq. Dan Rather of CBS and countless others preceded him.
But the recent election cycle brought out a whole new crop of “newspersons” caught ‘stretching the truth” trying to hang a little extra “tinsel” on their credentials or resume, or making up or “borrowing” for their own use too much of someone else’s story without crediting the source, as good journalism ethics require.
Some have suggested Williams began to stretch the truth about his trip to Iraq and added details that had no basis in fact so that his numerous visits to late-night talk shows would sound more interesting. And if they made Brian Williams also sound more interesting, that didn’t hurt anything. But it ended up hurting Williams a lot, in reputation, money, and possibly future earning power.
Implying that we are all prone to lying, Professor Bob Thompson, of Syracuse University, made a rather broad claim regarding the veracity of people in general, when he said, quoting from an Associated Press article, “Any human being who tells you they [sic] have never embellished their [sic] own life story is probably lying.” He cited some examples, showing that stories sort of naturally get expanded and colored over time and repetitions.
How the professor can claim to know how “any human being” might relate events in his story is a mystery, and he reveals a rather low opinion of people’s ability to recount their life event with accuracy, or even with modesty that minimizes certain accomplishments.
The AP article also touched on the Hillary Rodham Clinton claim in her 2008 presidential campaign how she and her party landed under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996, a “memory that turned out to be untrue,” the AP writer wrote. The main problem was that when Clinton and her party landed in Bosnia their arrival was televised. And the television cameras showed Hillary being greeted by waiting dignitaries, and no one was dodging bullets, nor was there any sniper fire,
The friendly Clinton media conveniently forgot the event and Clinton escaped the “liar” label for then, as she did so many times during the Rose law firm, cattle futures, and Madison Savings and Loan affairs of the 1990s.
Others, especially politicians, are prone to “misspeak,” exaggerate, or lie outright, depending on the need. Vice President Joe Biden is often the “victim” of faulty recall.
This observer thinks that the liberal media, in trying to explain Williams’ untruthfulness, commit “journalistic sins” as bad or worse than the embellishments by Williams. The AP’s Meghan Barr went a bit overboard when she wrote, “Williams was suspended … by the network for six months for stretching the truth … but he’s far from alone.”
Her lame explanation for dishonesty shows just how far journalism, and perhaps our modern society, has sunk into the Falsity Abyss.
The exposure of Williams’ untruthfulness resulted in NBC News suspending him for six months without pay, and Williams apologizing to his employer, his viewers and anyone else watching.
Unfortunately, those who tried to gloss over the news anchor’s indiscretions, and explain that when it comes to lying, “Everybody does it,” have yet to apologize for their defense of the indefensible.
Saying that an untruthful person is “far from alone,” in no way justifies the untruth. Our behavior should be guided by our own character and values, not by what others say or do.
“Speak each man the truth to his neighbor” (Zechariah 8:16 NKJV)
“(T)hat we should no longer be children tossed to and fro … but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ” (Ephesians 4:14,15)
Truth is reality, examined up close so that its color, shape and identity are not blurred by the mists of time, or the haze of distance, or the fog of a faulty memory Donald G. Mashburn
On Truth, Love and Children
by Donald G. Mashburn
Once he left office, former President Bill Clinton kept busy on the speaking circuit. Once in speaking to a Jewish audience, he said he would “personally … grab a rifle and fight and die” if Iraq invades Israel. The claim drew an editorial that said, “Clinton still has trouble with the truth,” as the commentator recalled Clinton’s avoidance of the draft, and his infamous letter to Col. Holmes to the effect that he, Clinton, had “a loathing for the military.”
The Commentator went on to detail other occasions on which Clinton was shown to have been untruthful. The truth is, mankind has had trouble with the truth since Cain lied to the Lord about the whereabouts of his dead brother, Abel.
Many centuries later, when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, He said, "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." Pilate then asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38).
Pilate's question is one all of us must deal with at some time. Truth and its discovery have illuminated mankind's brightest moments; its suppression has accompanied the darkest. The search for truth and attempts to define it have occupied some of history's brainiest and most eloquent.
No less a wordsmith than John Keats, in “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” wrote, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That's all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
Keats's tidy definition of truth or beauty, which is it? suited him, but suffers from over-simplification. After all, truth, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder.
If asked, “What is truth?” most of us could come up with an answer that’s reasonable to us. But a definition of truth that will please everybody is difficult. We wander easily into circular reasoning, trying to define truth using popular definitions for truth.
And although reason demands a definition of truth in terms we can understand, reason also tells us that truth is immeasurable, or “unbarrelable,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it.
So we end up “exploring” for truth, looking for signs of genuineness, honesty, and the quality of being true in all similar circumstances.
In the adult world, our exploration yields more dry holes than we like. But in the world of children, we hit a gusher every time a young child looks to us for affection or help.
If you want to see truth, look in the face of a young child. For the sincere love and trust lighting a child’s face, highlights truth in its simplest and purest form.
Our Creator chose the face of a child as the perfect canvas on which He paints expressions of trust and love, in natural colors not tinted by prejudice, hatred or hypocrisy.
A child loves without condition, without deception. A child truly thinks, truly loves, and gives that love without guile or price. No pretense or fakery, here. Only love, flourishing in its natural habitat: the heart, mind and face of a child. Unsullied by pretense or deception, a child’s love by its very nature is truth undisguised.
It’s this beautifully non-contradictory expression of truth in a child’s love, devoid of any deception or falseness that helps us to realize what gifts of God children are!
Jesus gave us the beauty of a child's love and trust as a model, when He said, “Assuredly, … whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Luke 18:17 NKJV). Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
To receive the Kingdom of God, we must have a child’s sincere trust. To inherit the Kingdom, our trust must be in Truth, Jesus Himself.
We are also reminded that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 4:16, KJV). It follows that God is the source of both love and truth. These two, love and truth, are of God, and both should be the trademarks of those who would be called Children of God.
In the sincere, uncontrived love of a child, truth and love are displayed in their best forms. Each is complete, yet each is interwoven with, and supported and confirmed by, the other. The beauty of which Keats wrote is the product of truth and love, not a synonym for truth.
A child's love needs no translation. Explaining truth is as easy as Augustus McCrae's explanation of his Latin motto in Larry McMurtry's “Lonesome Dove,” "It just says itself."
Truth is defined by facts and reality, not by emotions.
Forgiveness of a wrongful act does not mean denying the TRUTH, but loving in spite of it.
He who cannot keep a cool head should not enter the heat of debate.
Keep from your yesterdays what will help you through your tomorrows.
The ability to persuade is proportional to the character of the persuader.
Fretting never solved a problem; praying has led to victory in great battles.
Accuracy has limitations; honesty has none.
Learning and the will to do are voluntary, but character and goodness determine if it’s worthwhile.
Success depends on ability and motivation, worthwhileness on character and attitude.
Where you finish in a race is not as important as whether you ran.
Genius isn’t a friend to all, but Stupidity will buddy-up to anyone who welcomes it.
Things don’t always happen for the best, but make the best of things that happen.
Everything’s relative: A snail thinks zipping along on the back of a turtle is a wild ride.
In case you have to eat your words, make them as sweet as possible.
Prosperity brings many friends, adversity not so many.
How can you believe a politician who promises you everything free with lower taxes?
Most folks can talk nonsense at times, but few can do it with a straight face like a politician.
You can’t help but notice that most good talkers are good listeners.
Have you ever wondered if the inventor of high heels was once kissed on the forehead?
Secrets of a good speech: Know what you’re going to say; say it, shut up, and sit down.
May God bless America according to His love and mercy, not according to our actions.
We are commanded to “Love others,” but some “others” take more prayer.