I’m guessing you heard the news about Jussie Smollett. He’s an actor who claimed he was attacked by two white men in Chicago because he’s both black and gay. He said they hit him, used bigoted slurs, put a noose around his neck, poured an unknown substance on him, and shouted, “This is MAGA country!”
Almost as soon as his story made the news, he was the golden child of the Democrats and the progressive Left who, together with their partners in the mainstream media, were doing all they could (and still are) to frame conservative America as deeply intolerant and unforgivably racist. Suddenly, Smollett’s relatively less-than-profound career had found powerful traction. He became a prominent guest at events, went on talk shows, and was even granted a primetime interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
I watched the interview. Smollett cranked up the emotion and Roberts fawned, almost grotesquely. It was hard to watch, and not because I sympathized with him, or because I felt shame for being a conservative, but because something wasn’t right with Smollett’s story. Like so many others who watched it, I didn’t believe what he was saying. The thing is, much of the law enforcement community involved with the situation disbelieved him, too. Still, a few higher ranking officials in Cook County managed to pull enough strings to shield their celebrity friend from any attempts to reveal what was, even in their minds, looking to be a hoax.
Eventually, the tables turned. A fair-minded prosecutor was presented with the evidence, namely, that the men involved in the supposed attack were not even white, but black, and Smollett actually hired them. As it would go, Smollett was charged with six counts of orchestrating a hate crime against himself. Last week, the case and its facts unfolded before twelve jurors, and on Thursday, Smollett was found guilty of five of the six counts. Truth defeated untruth.
But it almost didn’t, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, I’ll let you in on a little secret—and I’ll bet it’s one to which others who do what I do for a living would likely nod in agreement.
It’s likely the reason I choked on the believability of Smollett’s interview with Robin Roberts is because pastors are pretty good at spotting liars.
If the job is being done right, no small portion of a pastor’s time involves interfacing with the underbelly of Sin’s grossest offenses. Lies rule in this realm. In one sense, this is true because the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44), labors tirelessly to maintain this dimly lit kingdom. Pastors know this. They know he uses lies like a model maker uses glue, connecting this and that misshaped part to create a seemingly insurmountable monstrosity that’s eventually found capable of hiding truth in its shadow. Still, I won’t place all of the blame on him. Even without his crafty influence, sinful humanity is more than capable of maintaining a kingdom of deceit. The Sin-nature is a powerful wellspring that feeds every human being’s ability to lie to others, and perhaps most disturbingly, to lie to oneself. What’s most troubling about this tendency is not only that it so often demonstrates itself with a twisted joyfulness—as if to suggest that without the ability to lie, humanity would be overcome by boredom—but that lying seems to be the first thing people will do to acquire what he or she wants, or to defend what he or she already believes.
Again, if pastors are doing their jobs, it’s likely they know the telltale signs of deception. They know the signs because they’ve heard and seen the same forms of dishonesty in countless situations. For example, all too often the man who confesses to having fallen out of love with his wife eventually proves he’s had eyes for another woman all along. He didn’t fall out of love. He lied to justify his desires and get what he wanted. Pastors see this all the time. Another example that repeats itself: It’s not uncommon for disgruntled church members to blame their unhappiness (or non-existence) on the pastor or a fellow member of the church community, landing on just about anything they’ve done or said as cold, unloving, or offensive. In my experience, the disconnect usually has to do with the wayward person’s desire to embrace an ideology or behavior contrary to God’s will and Word. It’s only after the pastor and church community have spoken truthfully to the errant Christian about the dangers of his or her living that the trouble begins. It’s then that the ones reaching with the truth are no longer counted as friends, but rather as unloving accusers. And yet, they’re not unloving. That’s a lie. They’re being faithful to both God and neighbor. They’re seeing a fellow Christian in need, and rather than closing their hearts to the opportunity for expressing God’s loving concern, they act. As Saint John points out, they epitomize love “in deed and truth” (1 John 3:17-18). On the contrary, the one who stubbornly refuses the truth is living in a perpetual darkness ruled by lies (1 John 1:6-9).
I could go on and on sharing similar examples, but I promised an explanation to my previous comment about truth nearly losing to untruth in the Jussie Smollett situation. What I meant is that if those who knew the facts had decided not to go the extra mile for truth, had those who were bothered by the lie being guarded by the people in power chosen to remain silent, an already monstrous narrative of untruth would have gained a deeper footing in America. But honest people took a chance at confronting dishonesty. They took a chance at offending the false narrative. They pursued truth, and truth won.
We can learn from these nameless advocates.
By their diligence, a deception was uprooted, and justice was served. What’s more, the blast radius of truth’s detonation revealed the scoundrels intent on weaponizing the lie. Thankfully, those frauds were silenced. Whether or not those same people are dealing honestly with themselves when it comes to public opinion, I don’t know. I will say that until they come clean, they’ll continue to simmer in their own foolishness in a glaring way. In other words, if I were Robin Roberts, or any of the other liberally progressive automatons who condemned anyone who questioned the verity of Smollett’s story—and this includes Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and countless other ever-droning agendizers in government, Hollywood, and mainstream news and entertainment outlets—I’d apologize to America soon, all with the hope that my gushing foolishness would be soon forgotten. I’m sure the social media giants at Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are certainly doing whatever they can to help scrub the crime scenes.
In the end, my real hope is that the shame these people are experiencing will not only shepherd them toward honesty, but will encourage them to measure their responses in the future. Admittedly, my hopes are not high in these regards.
So, why bring any of this up? Well…
A man is a man. A woman is a woman. Stand up to the lies that claim otherwise. Maybe take a chance and write a letter to the NCAA. Push back against their woke policies allowing transgenders to hijack women’s sports, ultimately stealing away so many well-deserving female athletes’ aspirations. The Smollett case has shown us that truth can win.
A person is not inherently evil because of the color of his or her skin. Fight in your communities and school districts against the deceptive race theories that claim otherwise. Go to the school board meetings. Call your local representatives. Do these things knowing truth can win.
An unborn child is a unique person, both dignified and worthy of life. Muster as much muscle as you can against the pro-choice devilry that would call this untrue. Get involved with your local Right to Life chapter. Give of your time and treasure to the cause. Be present at the gates of a Planned Parenthood to pray. Do this. As we’ve seen, truth can win.
Again, I could go on and on with this. The list of topics that would benefit from truth’s pushback is long. And yes, it also includes much of the pseudo-science that’s driving so much of what Americans are being required to endure these days. Against these looming deceptions, know that truth is forced into the shadows when those who are to be its hands, feet, and voice remain quietly indolent. Perhaps worse, truth teeters at the edge of burial when we wait for someone else to act.
I suppose in conclusion, whether any of us chooses to engage on behalf of truth, we can all rest assured that truth won’t settle for our disregard indefinitely. It certainly won’t forever tolerate those in the Christian community who, having been offended by it, take their marbles and go somewhere else. As I’ve said on countless occasions from the pulpit here at Our Savior, eventually the Last Day will come and the divine light switch will get flipped. In the bright-beaming streams of Christ’s return, even as every human being alive and dead will be found on their knees paying homage to the approaching King of Kings, all will see and know what is true and what isn’t. Joy or regret will be the two available emotions as all deceptions are stripped away and the final standards of judgment are laid unquestionably bare. By God’s grace at work through His revealing Word right now, Christians are equipped for that day. Through faith in Christ—the One who is truth in the flesh (John 14:6)—we are not only rescued from the perils of Sin and the regret it brings, but we are given hope for that moment of moments. Just as wonderfully, we are changed to know and desire truth in the here and now (John 8:32; James 1:18), and we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to protect and defend what is true (1 John 4:6).
By that same Gospel of deliverance in Christ alone, be strengthened to stand for truth. I say this knowing that if anyone is truly destined for the job, indeed, it’s Christians.