“Truth or Consequences”

In 1950 the town of Hot Springs, New Mexico changed its name to honor the popular quiz program called Truth or Consequences. That has always seemed like a bizarre joke if this was an attempt to attract tourists, because the hot springs would have done that anyway. Perhaps they were given a large monetary incentive to do it? Some might say they are still paying the consequences of a rash decision.

The point is that consequences almost always follow truth in one way or another. The questions asked on the quiz program were framed so that the contestants could not answer them correctly and thus had to face the wacky consequences. It often seems in our own secular life as if we encounter such no-win situations.

In the Bible there are consequences for not telling the truth as Ananias and Sapphira discovered (Acts 5:1-11). However, sometimes there are also consequences when one does tell the truth. Nearly all the Old Testament prophets suffered persecutions for the truth (1 Ki 19:10) (Mt 23:34-37). After trying to conceal his adultery and murder, King David gave a humble prayer for forgiveness in which he said, “Surely you (God) desire truth in the inner parts…” (Ps 51:6) Nevertheless, David still had to face the consequences of his sins. One was the death of his and Bathsheba’s son (2 Sa 12:14 &18). Another was that his son, Absalom, rebelled against him and seized his kingdom and he was forced to go into exile (2 Sa 15-17). This fulfilled the prophecy of God through the prophet Nathan (2 Sa 12:11-12).

Jesus is the way and the truth and the life (Jo 14:6). He spent much time proclaiming the truth to his listeners. Many times He began his lessons with the statement, “I tell you the truth…” (Mt 5: 18) (Mk 3:28) (Lk 18:17) (Jo 3:3) He called the Pharisees hypocrites for not following the truth (Mt 23:23-36). Jesus told Pilate that, “I came into the world to testify to the truth…” (Jo 18:37) This truth led to Jesus’ torture, crucifixion and death. Terrible consequences indeed!

Perhaps we should say Truth AND Consequences because they will surely follow, whether good or bad. But Jesus told His disciples, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jo 8:32) Free from sin and eternal punishment (Mt 25:41) (2 Th 1:8-9) and free to enjoy eternity with Him who is truth (1 Th 4:16-17). Wonderful consequences indeed!!

–Jim Bailey