“Seeking the Truth”

“Buy the truth, and do not sell it.”

Proverbs 23:23a

The 90s science fiction TV series “The X-Files” follows FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they investigate unsolved paranormal cases known as X-Files. Mulder believes in the existence of extraterrestrial life and paranormal activity, driven by the mysterious disappearance of his kid sister, which he believes was due to an alien abduction. Scully is a medical doctor and a skeptic who is assigned to work with Mulder and debunk his theories. As the series progresses, however, Scully gradually accepts the reality of the supernatural.

Mulder and Scully follow the trail of evidence, often leading them to uncover embarrassing secrets of high profile people, government conspiracies and shadowy organizations that suppress the truth. Throughout the series, the agents’ findings are constantly frustrated by covert government forces. The opening sequence states that “the truth is out there,” with the implicit challenge to the viewing audience to seek it for themselves.

In the series finale, Agent Reyes says, “What's the point of all of this? To destroy a man who seeks the truth, or to destroy the truth so no man can seek it?” Whenever people oppose or suppress the truth they try to do one of these two things: 1. Destroy the one who seeks the truth, or 2. Destroy the truth so no one can seek it.

There may be a lesson in this fictional TV series for us. Jesus prayed to his Father concerning us, “sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). Knowing and living by God’s truth is one of the things that makes Christians distinct from the world. Agent Reyes’ words on truth-seeking are worth thinking about.

Of course, truth cannot be destroyed. It can be hidden temporarily, twisted beyond recognition, buried in obscurity or flatly denied, but it can never be destroyed. Paul speaks about those who “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). Whenever the truth is suppressed, the naive are duped into believing lies. People suppress the truth when it condemns them in some way. If the truth were to be discovered, they would lose face, power, control or credibility. This is because truth shines like light in the darkness, exposing evil and robbing it of any cover. Truth threatens error. God’s truth, then, cures both intellectual ignorance and moral impurity (Prov. 6:23; Psa. 119:105, 130; Eph. 4:17-19; 2 Pet. 1:19).

If the truth cannot be sufficiently covered up then those who seek it are targeted. Truth-seekers (and truth-speakers and truth-followers) are often threatened, insulted and injured by those who want to keep a lid on the truth. But in the end, the truth will be vindicated. Think of Jesus, whom people tried to destroy by nailing to a cross, yet was vindicated in his resurrection (Rom. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:16).

Despite the danger it often puts us in, we must remain committed to seeking the truth because, ultimately, “the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Jesus is God’s Word incarnate, the truth in human form. He is full of both grace (to forgive) and truth (to guide). “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17, 14; 14:6). So stick with the truth by following Jesus. No matter what people say about the truth and no matter what they do to those who seek it, let the truth be your focus. Truth will be vindicated with all those who embrace it.

It’s hard to stick with the truth but, in the end: it is better to stand alone with the truth than be wrong with the masses, it is better to be divided by truth than united by error, it is better to be hated for telling the truth than be loved for telling a lie and it is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with deception. “Buy the truth, and do not sell it.” (Prov. 23:23a)