Often when consequences are discussed it is under the umbrella of bad decisions. Discussion is had and lessons are given on the importance of understanding the consequences of bad choices and how they affect life both here and in eternity. However, there are another set of consequences that are not often discussed; they are the consequences of truth.
The term “consequence” has as its main definition, “That which follows from any act, cause, principle, or series of actions. Hence, an event or effect produced by some preceding act or cause.” Therefore, a consequence is any result that stems from a particular cause or series of causes. They can be positive or negative, helpful or hurtful, but truth has just as many consequences as error. Consider some of them with me.
A Lack of Popularity
Truth is rarely popular. This is the case because truth requires a very narrow focus; when truth is found, everything else is error. You cannot believe or practice anything you desire and be dedicated to truth. Consequently, the truth is not popular when men seek their own ways and directions.
We live in an age where multiculturalism, humanism, and relativism have wreaked havoc on people’s view of truth, causing people to believe that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Therefore, the acceptance of truth, and the consequent realization of error, will keep one from being popular with those who love ambiguity, relativism, and erroneous ideas. If you are concerned about truth, prepare to be unpopular (1 Pet. 4:1-4).
Anger, Resentment, Lies, and Fear from Men
Many people do not have a problem with truth until its effect is cast upon them and the lives they lead. When that happens, there will be two different kinds of reaction: the first will be to change their lives and beliefs to fit the truth, the other will be to become angry and lash out at whoever is presenting the truth. Unfortunately, the latter reaction is far more common than the former.
Jesus talked about how people treat those who proclaim truth when he said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mat. 5:11-12). The responses to Stephen and Paul are both excellent examples of the way men respond to truth. If people never respond negatively to our preaching and teaching, it may be time to re-examine whether what we are teaching is “the truth and nothing but the truth.”
Freedom and Eternal Life.
Not all of the consequences of truth are negative. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). The truth has the ability to make man free. It frees the conscience from doubt and worry, it frees the mind of stress, it frees the soul of sin, and it frees man from the chains of death.
Additionally, acceptance of, and obedience to, truth brings eternal life. Jesus also affirmed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Through the truth we can come to the Father and receive the greatest of gifts: eternal life in his presence.
Truth is essential to a full and complete life, but there are consequences tied to it just as with anything else. We need to understand the consequences of truth, be prepared to accept them, and hold fast to the truth with all our being.
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.” Proverbs 3:3