What is Truth?

Some years ago, my wife, Lynnda, was working at a nursing home. She came home from work in tears. “I’m going to get fired tomorrow.” When I asked what happened, she explained there was an incident with a patient. Two of the nursing assistants who were responsible got together and blamed Lynnda. They were all going to meet with the director the next day. I told Lynnda, “Just tell the truth. It doesn’t change.” The next day Lynnda was smiling when she came home and said, “The director talked to each of us separately in her office. The nursing assistants couldn’t get their stories to agree.”

This story should sound familiar during Easter season to Christians and others who know the Bible. After Jesus’ arrest on Holy Thursday he is taken before the high priest and all the chief priests and elders who wanted to kill him. Mark 14:56 states, “Many gave false witness against him but their testimony did not agree.” It took Jesus telling them he was the Messiah, to finally give them what they wanted.

Truth is something mankind has struggled with since the beginning. In Genesis after Cain killed his brother Abel. God asked Cain, “Where is your brother?” Cain’s response was, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper.” In John 18, Jesus in front of the Roman Governor, Pilate says, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate’s response is, “What is truth?” Today Americans struggle to find the truth. The internet, cable news and other media all can report the same story differently. It becomes a challenge to determine what the truth is.

Truth isn’t widely promoted. In reality TV shows, the ability to deceive others is rewarded with money. On TV some programs depict law enforcement routinely lying to people to get them to confess. This sends the wrong message. Lies, deception and half-truths are destructive. When my brother, Rob in Pittsburgh was terminally ill with cancer, no one told one of his grown sons he was terminal. When Rob was near death, this son found out and commented, “I wish I had known sooner.” He could have made a point to spend more time with his Dad.

Webster defines truth as; The body of real things, events and facts. Actuality. Sincerity in action, character and utterance. Fidelity and constancy. In science a hypothesis is a supposition or a proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for investigation. A hypothesis can be proven true based on available evidence. Scientists should constantly seek truth. What is known about treating human disease or the universe is constantly changing as scientists, researchers and astronomers continue their work. Wikipedia defines “scientist” as a person who researches to advance knowledge in an area of the natural sciences. Science is never settled. Scientific “truths” can change with additional knowledge.

People are different than scientists. They choose to be truthful or not. The nursing assistants made up their own story to cover a mistake. Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Jesus said in John 8:32, “and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The truth frees us from having to “keep a story straight” or remember who we told what to. In my corporate days as a manager, I was always talking to my people. They could ask some tough questions. The truthful answer wasn’t always easy to tell them and it wasn’t always what they wanted to hear. It was always necessary because they deserved to know the truth. I never had to remember a made-up lie. The truth is easy to remember because it doesn’t change.

The cost for not telling the truth is worry, stress and pain. It can cost a company business. The truth will ultimately come out especially in today’s world. Cameras are everywhere. Thanks to the internet, love children unexpectedly showed up decades later at our family reunions. People still lie or try to deceive others. Some lie to their significant other about where they are or who they were with never thinking someone will post pictures on Facebook or some other platform. In business people can check out on line almost anything we say or claim. A mechanic said I needed a $2,000 repair. A second shop showed me everything was fine.

I sense frustration when I read what some of the climate change people write. They don’t have a good track record of correct predictions. People who aren’t worried about telling a lie, the long-term effects of drugs, tobacco or getting caught cheating by their significant other in a world of cameras and online posts, aren’t willing to pay more for unreliable weather dependent energy to possibly prevent an event that might happen in the future. Scaring people won’t work. Fear is a terrible motivator unless the result is imminent. We can be creative and seek win-win solutions to have a cleaner planet.

The company who contacted Shale Crescent USA about outsourcing production from their manufacturing plant in China to North America is concerned about truth. SCUSA’s hard data explains why this region is the best place to be. They asked if we could connect them to companies in our region who could manufacture their products. They also want, “Real measurable emissions reductions not offsets. If we outsource Chinese production to the USA and sell it in the USA, we will be lowering our costs and global emissions.” They believe companies are buying more carbon offsets than actually exist.

The truth can set us, our families, friends and others we come in contact with free. They deserve the truth from us. They deserve the opportunity to make decisions based on fact. Becoming someone people can trust is good for our relationships, our health by lowering stress and our business. Happy Easter.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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