How Much Do You Love the Truth?
LOVE of truth is something most of us readily profess. But how deep does our love of truth really go? Is it deep enough to defend it when one is under pressure? Will we stand by what we know to be true when it will cost us something to do so. How much do you love the truth?
If you firmly stand for the truth of God’s Word the Bible, your friends or work associates may try to dissuade you. This happened to Abdullah, a young man in his twenties, living in a Near Eastern country. Abdullah began to study the Bible with one of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. He was delighted at the wonderful truths he was learning. At the hotel where he worked he would tell his fellow employees the things he was learning from the Bible. He had hoped, even expected, that they would rejoice over them as he was doing. But to his amazement they began to abuse him orally.
His employer even threatened to dismiss him if he did not stop studying the Bible and talking to others about it. This put him under heavy pressure because he needed his job. What would you have done? Well, Abdullah had real love for the truth, so he did not let this intimidation hinder him in his study of the Bible.
When he later discussed the truth with some close friends, they too ridiculed him for studying the Bible. These “friends” did not turn out to be lovers of truth as he was, and, as a result, he did not see much of them after that.
Abdullah’s secular work interfered with his regular attendance at Christian meetings to study the Bible. Because he loved the truth so much, he accepted another job even though it paid less. Would you do that for the truth’s sake? Now he was able to attend all meetings for Bible study. He is happy that he continued to study God’s Word and to learn the truth despite threats and pressure.
Truth Worthy of Your Love
But what is there about this truth that caused Abdullah to love it with such loyalty? It is God’s truth, not man’s. Regarding this truth from God, Jesus Christ said to his disciples: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Such truth can set you free even from sin and death. Truth that can do that is very valuable indeed and worthy of your love.
God’s truth is found in the Holy Bible, which is now circulated, the whole or in part, in more than 1,400 languages. Learning this truth brings many benefits and great happiness. It gives a hope for the future because it tells of God’s purpose to remove all mankind’s woes and to turn this earth into a paradise where lovers of truth can live forever in perfect health. (Rev. 21:1-4) Are these not reasons enough to have strong love for such truth?
Loving God’s truth will never lead you to disappointment, because “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Heb. 6:18) Such love for the truth also brings great peace of mind and contentment, which are things of no little value. (Phil. 4:7) God’s Word becomes a sure guide during these difficult times when so many have lost their love for what is right. (Ps. 119:105; Matt. 24:12) These and other blessings make it well worth while to spend the necessary time in Bible study to learn the truth that is worthy of your strong love.—Eph. 5:16.
Proving Love for the Truth
But obtaining this truth can bring effects that may not at first be expected. Usually those beginning to learn God’s truth come under some form of attack from God’s enemy, Satan the Devil, who tries to discourage them. Often it comes in the form of opposition from family or friends, or simply what people in general may think. Jesus Christ told his followers to expect this: “Do not think I came to put peace upon the earth; I came to put, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a young wife against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man’s enemies will be persons of his own household.”—Matt. 10:34-36.
But there is no reason for this to cause undue apprehension. Actually it is an opportunity to prove love for God’s truth. And it is also a cause for rejoicing, as Jesus said: “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.”—Matt. 5:11, 12.
Now, God does not take our love for the truth for granted; he lets us be tested to prove our love. So those today who learn God’s truth can expect that the time will come when they will need to prove their love for the truth.
When Relatives Oppose
Has your experience borne out the truth of what Jesus said? Have you accepted Bible truth and found that some of your relatives do not approve? Many of Christ’s followers today are having such experiences. For example, in Italy a woman began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Her husband put pressure on her to stop her Bible study. He began to persecute her, even tearing up her Bible literature. But she loved the truth and would not give in to his wishes. Seeing that she would not give up Bible truth, her husband took away the clothes she needed to leave the house and threatened to have her committed to a clinic for mental patients. Would her love for the truth prove strong enough to endure this persecution? Yes, it did, and by her proving her love she has found great joy. For now her husband pays attention to the Bible and accompanies his wife to Bible meetings.
Thus proving loyal to the truth often helps opposing relatives to see that you have something of great importance and value. Perhaps you can help relatives that may try to discourage you. They may be opposing because they do not know the marvelous truths found in the Bible, or they may oppose because they have no love for God. In either case, remember that having God’s approval is far more important than having the approval of men. It is God, not man, who has promised to give you eternal life if you love him above everyone and everything else.—Matt. 22:37-39.
Should any relatives oppose you for loving the truth, think of the example of Miss B———, who lives in the Middle East, and it will strengthen you. She learned God’s truth from her neighbor, who was one of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. When Miss B——— began to pass along the Bible’s truth to her family her younger sister responded. But it was a different matter with her father and mother. They demanded that she stop her study of the Bible. They kept her under close observation so that she could not go to the neighbor’s house to study the Bible. But Miss B——— kept up her Bible study by means of the telephone.
Next her parents, seeing the daughter’s determination, resorted to violence, even threatening her life. When all this failed to change her mind, she was told either to give up her Bible study or to leave home. According to Middle Eastern custom it is a disgrace for a girl to leave the family home before she is married. But rather than abandon God’s truth, she left home and was taken in by a family of fellow Christians. Today Miss B——— enjoys the happy privilege of teaching others the Bible’s message of God’s kingdom in the vicinity of where Jesus Christ himself once preached the same message of truth. Do you have such love for the truth?
Will Your Love for the Truth Overcome Opposition?
Though some persons feel that the truth is not worth the trouble it may cause them with their family or friends, real lovers of truth do not feel that way. They realize that knowing the truth and serving God in accordance with it mean everlasting life. (John 17:3) Their abandoning the truth would benefit no one, not even the opposers. So, though it may cost them something to do so, they follow God’s advice: “Buy truth itself and do not sell it.”—Prov. 23:23.
Remember, you can serve God acceptably only if you have and retain the truth. (John 4:23) If you serve him in truth God will not forsake you. But if you forsake the truth, then you cannot expect God’s blessing and guidance. How clearly the prophet Samuel pointed this out to the nation of Israel: “Fear Jehovah, and you must serve him in truth with all your heart . . . But if you flagrantly do what is bad, you will be swept away.” (1 Sam. 12:24, 25) Do you want to serve Jehovah in truth because it is right to do so and because it will mean life for you? Then stick to the truth; you cannot afford to exchange it for anything.—Rom. 1:25.
Jesus Christ said that he came into the world to bear witness to the truth. (John 18:37) Today there are many thousands of persons around the world who are bearing witness to the truth, who love it and will not give it up. They are Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. If you love the truth sincerely, you will want to associate with them. By doing so you will find much encouragement and assistance in living according to the truth.
How much do you love the truth? Enough to follow it and live by it even in the face of opposition? We sincerely hope so, because this can open the way for you to live forever.