The musings of a nerd


— Jan 12, 2022

You know what doesn’t win friends? Calling people liars. Oh well, truth is truth, right? Yep. But what happens when you dilute the truth a little bit? It reminds me of an analogy my wife shared with me.

Would you eat a cake that had just a little bit of poop baked into it?

No, I suppose that changes things for me, and that’s about the same effect a little non-truth has on what is otherwise truthful.

half-truth a statement that conveys only part of the truth, especially one used deliberately in order to deceive someone

(New Oxford American Dictionary)

Does this sound familiar? This day in age you’re probably immediately thinking politicians and lawyers, and you’re probably not wrong. The part after the comma drives it home, though I would imagine that type of folk would make a small edit:

in order to deceive convince someone

Hold on. Don’t act all smug and innocent. You’ve done it too. Today? Half-truths are a particular problem, because not only are they used to deceive others, they sometimes even deceive you.

I haven’t had any ice cream this week [true], so I deserve a little treat [lie].

It seems such half-truths run rampant in our society today. They’re indescriminately shared by folks on every side of the political tesseract. Things like:

So and so voted for (Trump|Biden) [true], so they’re a major (racist|marxist) [lie]!

No, that’s not true. It may be true that of the card-carrying *ists most of them voted for one or the other, but to conclude that everyone else also falls into those categories is deceitful. It’s divisive, and I would say hateful. No one appreciates being labeled.

Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice.

Isaiah 59:15 NIV

Here’s a recent example:

…there are also people who are vehemently opposed to vaccination [true]. These are extremists [?] who do not believe in science [?], who are often [?] misogynists [?], often racists [?] too; it is a sect, a small [?] group, but who are taking up space…

(emphasis added)

Those are the (translated from French) words of the prime minister of Canada. Check out the labels: vehemently extremists, misogynists, racists, small. Ouch. Aïe.

What good is this doing for anyone? Does it make the unlabeled group feel good? What bad is it doing? We’re left feeling like we have to decide what camp we fall into, because the highest levels of our leadership are lumping us into categories based on empty rhetoric. Even if you agree with the message, you have to admit it’s strikingly divisive.

And you see this goes for practically every issue that’s being discussed today. We need to get better at disagreeing again. Respectfully. I’d even say it’s good for us. Sorry, I slid off track a little bit. Let’s get back to the truth…

The Truth

What is truth anyway? Where does it come from? Can it change? We hear about ”your truth“ and “my truth” now days, which sound a lot like opinions to me anyway. Turns out the question of truth is not what, it’s who.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 NIV

Nice 🎯. And how exactly can a person be “the truth”?

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 NIV

Got it, Jesus is the embodiment of God‘s word. The truth. This is great, what do we do with it?

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:32 NIV

Freedom is good. Let’s be free. If truth sets us free, what’s the opposite like?

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

John 8:34 NIV

Btw, lying is sin, and speaking half-truth is lying. The slave part sounds bad, but it gets a lot worse than that. We won’t get into all that right now, but about those lies…

The Lie

We were able to figure out the source of truth, so where do all the lies come from? Turns out, it started quiet awhile ago. In fact, it began with half-truths. They’re sometimes more potent than lies…

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 2:16-17

The father of lies must have heard God tell Adam and Eve this, but notice how he changes the message in relaying it back to Eve.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat [true] from any tree [lie] in the garden’?”

Genesis 3:1 (emphasis added)

The half-truth is that God said not to eat of any tree. This sews doubt, and interestingly results in Eve herself responding in error.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden [true], and you must not touch it [lie], or you will die.’ ”

Genesis 3:2-3 (emphasis added)

God never said anything about touching the tree. Also, interesting how vague the reference to the tree gets here; “middle of the garden”. Both of the special trees are described this way.

The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:9 (emphasis added)

So what does does the liar tell her?

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

Genesis 3:4

The TRUTH! The conversation has devolved enough at this point that this is easily interpretted as truth: 1) The tree of life is in the middle of the garden and won’t kill you and 2) touching is no problem.

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5

God never said that, it was inferred from the name of the tree, but this conversation was enough to coerce Eve. Who knows what Eve’s intent was, but the fact remains that her next move was disabedience and the rest is history.

Half-truth has a dangerous tendancy of confusing us. Our perception of truth becomes warped as we loose track of what is true and what isn’t until we eventually believe a lie. Sprinkle in a little fear and you have all the ingredients for manipulation.

Even now, the pattern repeats itself in our society. Don’t believe the lie. Don’t buy into all the emotion and become manipulated. Hold fast to the Truth!

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV

If you’re comfortable with lying, stop it.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44 NIV

It comes down to that. There’s an enemy trying to take you out. He hates you, and he wants you. Take hold of the Truth, and you’ll be free of the lies and evendeath. A half-truth is a whole lie.

© Jay Hayes