Thought for the Week with Rev John Powell: Truth

It is so important that we vote in Thursday’s elections because we need to keep democracy alive and that will only happen if as many of as possible take part. To do this we need to know what each candidate stands for and be able to trust them to carry out what they propose. We need to believe that they will be true to their word. It is a huge responsibility to hand over to someone else what we ourselves hold dear. As we do so, we lose control until the next election. We hand over power from the people to those who govern us. This leaves us more powerless. It is a precarious balance.

We often struggle to know what Truth is. It can be very elusive. A mid. 15thcentury saying is: “Truth will out.” It is true that time will tell if things are true or not. Aristotle said: “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.” In St John’s Gospel we read: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Francis Bacon said: “What is truth? Said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.” Jesus Christ said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me you will know my Father also.” This was after Thomas doubted Jesus and reminds us that we have to fully commit ourselves in order to know the truth. In John’s Gospel chapter 16 verse 13 we read: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth,” Psalm 51 verse 6 says: “You desire truth in the inward being, therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.”

I will not disagree that truth is very difficult to come by and very often it is something that individuals have to struggle within themselves because, in the end, we all have to take responsibility for our own actions. The first level of approach is Intuition. Very often we feel deep down that something is not right. This may be based on conscience or experience but is very powerful. A wild animal senses that there is danger in the air. We cannot pin this down but it is a powerful feeling that things are not as they seem. I am sure that this has saved many people from danger.

We gain truth by being told by others. This can be good, as with a good teacher. We all remember teachers who taught us good things but the Bible also teaches us to look out for false gods. This was the work of the prophets in the Old Testament. They were often saying that the people had gone astray from the truth. There is a great danger in accepting, as true, information from others, without question. This is a danger in a world dominated by high technology and experts, that we are not able to control.

We need to keep our critical thinking capacities. Our children should be taught to be critical. We need to keep an open mind. We need to research things for ourselves. We need to be happy with doubt because all we know has come from the words: how? when? where? It is important that we learn things for ourselves, that we take time to research and that we check out the facts as far as we can. We should be willing to learn new things. We should be willing to look at things from different angles. We need to grow into greater truth. When I began to train for the Ministry as an adult, I was told that it was good that I was willing to learn new things and had not become set in my ways!


Truth never changes,

And Beauty’s her dress,

And Good never changes,

Which, those two express:

Splendours three, from God proceeding,

May we ever love them true,

Goodness, Truth, and Beauty heeding

Every day, in all we do.

(Percy Dearmer

Gweddi: O Arglwydd, rho inni lygaid gwan ar gyfer pethau dibwys a llygaid clir ar gyfer dy holl wirionedd di. Amen. (Edwin Lewis.)

Rev John Powell,

Retired vicar of Cardigan