Later this month my clan will gather for a family reunion. Four generations and a variety of beliefs and attitudes will be represented.
Of those four generations, a few know Jesus Christ personally, a few are interested, a few couldn’t care less, and a few become hostile if His name comes up in any other context than cursing.
These four attitudes illustrate an observation someone has made... that attitudes toward truth (Jesus said “I am the truth...” John 14:6) go through a cycle: one generation seeks and finds truth, another one will defend it, the third becomes apathetic about it, and the fourth rejects it. The fifth generation feels the void, and the cycle begins to repeat itself.
Certainly this is a general observation and these are overlapping cycles with exceptions in our culture, yet I wonder... where are we - as a nation, and as individuals? Is our society made up of truth-seekers? Are there masses of people seeking the One who claimed to be truth? Or are most people content, just seeking to maintain the status quo?
Or is our population dominated by truth-defenders? Are people who know Jesus Christ in the majority? Are they actively defending the truth that He embodies? Do they proclaim that He is God in human flesh who died for their sin, was buried, and rose again? Or do those who hold the truth run for cover when it is attacked?
Or, are most people in the third generation of the cycle; not caring, ho-hum, falling beyond mere failure to defend the truth into apathetic disinterest? Do most people bypass what is right and what is real and instead make decisions governed by whatever feels good? If lies are recognized, are they evaluated as such? or accepted on the strength of their seeming immediate returns? Or has the standard for truth been lost altogether?
Maybe our society’s norm has become utter rejection of truth. Do most people get uptight and defensive when the topic of truth is raised? Do most people call evil, lies included, good - and good, truth included, evil? Do they attack the person and work of Jesus Christ? Do people prefer their lies and their empty lives rather than face the bright light of who He is?
In Matthew 12:34, Jesus spoke of a generation of vipers that pretended to know the truth but were filled with evil, lies and corruption. They hated truth and crucified Him rather than face what He said about them. Certainly this attitude continues to rule the life of many people today.
But attitudes toward truth do not have to go from bad to worse. Psalm 78 encourages those who know truth to hang on to it and to “make it known to their children: that the generation to come might know ... and arise and declare (this truth) to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments: and might not be as their fathers, (who were) a stubborn and rebellious generation..”
Psalm 24:6 gives added hope for those who have not had prior encouragement from the generation before them. It says, “... there is a generation that seeks Him...” and makes a promise that those who do will “...receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of their salvation.”
Perhaps the cycle is merely the merry-go-round that a lot of people would like to get off but do not know how. Jesus said “If you know the truth, the truth shall set you free.” The answer is found in Him.