Speaking the Truth Unites
“Speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.”—Eph. 4:25
1, 2. How do history and the Bible show why the nations have not achieved world unity?
WORLD unity has been the dream and desire of many men down through the years. They have wished for world peace. At times their hopes rose high when peace treaties were signed, when disarmament conferences were being held, or when a forum, such as the League of Nations or United Nations, was formed. But history grimly testifies to man’s failures in achieving world unity. The magazine Consolation, April 3, 1940, quickly bridged a long period in man’s history, saying: “A review of 3,421 years of human history shows that in that time there have been 268 years of peace. All of the remaining years were years of war in which some 8,000 peace treaties were broken to smithereens.” Thus history tells how the nations of the world make agreements with mental reservations, and under the label of diplomacy speak flattering and peaceful words among themselves. Even to this day they fail to speak truth one with the other, and cannot attain world peace and unity.
2 Looking centuries into the future, the prophet Daniel foretold the lack of truthfulness between the great blocs of nations: “As regards these two kings, their heart will be inclined to doing what is bad, and at one table a lie is what they will keep speaking. But nothing will succeed, because the end is yet for the time appointed.” (Dan. 11:27) World unity cannot be achieved by the nations in their diplomacy and deception. Failure to recognize and speak the truth is leading the nations to a disastrous end. The so-called United Nations organization is hopelessly divided. They have not been willing to recognize the great source of truth wherein lies the solution to all mankind’s problems.
WHAT IS TRUTH?
3, 4. (a) What is the truth? (b) What present course of the nations was truly predicted in Psalm 2? (c) Give an example of how the Bible proves itself true in scientific matters.
3 The same book that contains Daniel’s prophecy telling of the certain failure of world diplomacy gives us the answer. Jesus Christ in praying to his Father, the Great Creator, Jehovah, declared: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Though hosts of critics, evolutionists, atheists and religionists have toiled relentlessly to try to discredit the truthfulness of the Word of God, that statement by Christ Jesus stands true. Everything found in the written Word of God, the Bible, is truth. Therein God declares his purpose to establish the rule of his kingdom over the earth, but the nations have failed to concede to the King appointed by Jehovah, Christ Jesus, and so place themselves in the direct path of Jehovah’s irresistible will. Failing to take Almighty God into consideration in what they are doing will lead the nations to complete disaster. “Why have the nations been in tumult and the national groups themselves kept muttering an empty thing? The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one. At that time he will speak to them in his anger and in his hot displeasure he will disturb them, saying: ‘I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.’”—Ps. 2:1, 2, 5, 6.
4 The Bible, which so accurately foretold the tumult and disagreements of the nations in these days, clearly reflects the accuracy of its author, Jehovah. Not only do we find a multitude of prophecies giving evidence to the truthfulness of the book, but in proved science we see Jehovah’s written Word speaking out centuries ahead of human scientists and proving 100-percent accurate. Nearly 2,700 years ago, at a time when the so-called learned men were speculating about the earth’s being flat, Jehovah caused his word to be written: “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isa. 40:22) The prophet Isaiah had not traveled around the earth. He had not been up in a space vehicle looking down to see that the earth was round, but Jehovah, who dwells in the heavens and who created the earth, gave the truth as to its shape.
5. Why is it the course of wisdom to look now into the Bible?
5 The earthly globe with its vast treasures of God’s creation teaches man many truths; it is a great storehouse to magnify the wisdom and ability of Jehovah. Foolish men may continue to argue against the truthfulness of God’s Word, about the earth and its future, but their lot will be frustration. Wise men will listen to the advice of Jehovah, “turning away from the empty speeches that violate what is holy and from the contradictions of the falsely called ‘knowledge.’” (1 Tim. 6:20) The wise man seeking truth concerning the world events of our day and what is in the near future will look into the Bible to be certain of his reward. In Isaiah 46:9, 10 we are told why: “Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One and there is no other God, nor anyone like me; the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, ‘My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do.’” The Son of God, Jesus Christ, trained by him in telling truth, gave reliable information and told of many things to come in our day. He told his disciples: “So now I have told you before it occurs, in order that, when it does occur, you may believe.”—John 14:29.
6. What valuable information does the Bible alone contain, and how should it be used?
6 Whether the world’s leaders choose to accept God’s truth or not it remains a great truth that the Bible is the most important publication in existence, and it alone shows the way to unity and life. The great prophet Moses, concluding a talk to the congregation of ancient Israel, declared: “Apply your hearts to all the words that I am speaking in warning to you today, that you may command your sons to take care to do all the words of this law. For it is no valueless word for you, but it means your life, and by this word you may lengthen your days upon the soil to which you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of it.” (Deut. 32:46, 47) Jesus Christ emphasized the importance of God’s Word in saying at Matthew 4:4: “It is written, ‘Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.’” The apostle Paul reminded the young man Timothy that Jehovah’s Word had kept him in the way of life. “From infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) Jehovah has supplied an abundance of truth in his Word. It is as necessary to men’s existence as an inexhaustible supply of water. The seeker for truth can draw and keep drawing, and as he does so he learns how to guide his course of life toward peace and unity with men of goodwill in all nations and races and guide himself to the time of endless peace and unity when all earth’s inhabitants will be united under God’s kingdom.—Isa. 12:3, 4.
HOW TO SPEAK THE TRUTH
7. What is it that makes a tongue speak the truth?
7 The healthy tongue is like a prancing horse, full of energy. It does not appear to get tired, so it keeps on going. It can speak good things, or it can tell lies. Jesus said at Luke 6:45: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” The heart must be filled with a supply of truth in order to have the tongue flow steadily with upbuilding conversation. The wise person thinks of this and recognizes the need, as Proverbs 15:28 points out: “The heart of the righteous one meditates so as to answer.” Before turning the tongue loose like a wild horse it must be bridled by a good heart. Then it will tell the truth. The same proverb continues and says: “The mouth of the wicked ones bubbles forth with bad things.” Therefore, individuals who speak the truth must first gain knowledge of right principles and make it their business to investigate and learn the truth.
8. How does speaking the truth for the benefit of others unite men of all nations?
8 It is the obligation of good men to help their neighbors. “Therefore keep comforting one another and building one another up, just as you are in fact doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11) It is the truth learned that serves as a foundation toward the uniting of the human family under the Great Creator. The more the supply of truth increases in one’s heart the more he will keep thinking in God’s way, and the truth will make him take action for his own good and for the good of others. Speaking the truth unites men of all nations. It is such a simple formula for unity that world leaders would never think of trying it out. But the hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s witnesses of all nations now in unity worldwide as a New World society are proof that it is the practical and only way to unity. They are genuinely interested in helping one another as commanded by God. “Speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ. From him all the body, by being harmoniously joined together and being made to co-operate through every joint that gives what is needed, according to the functioning of each respective member in due measure, makes for the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Wherefore, now that you have put away falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another.”—Eph. 4:15, 16, 25.
9. What great truth now proclaimed is a major factor in uniting men?
9 The world today sees there is an ever-increasing number of men who are speaking the truths learned from the Word of God, declaring man’s only hope in the kingdom of Almighty God, which will bring righteousness upon the earth and under which the human family will gain everlasting life. It is God’s will that men should come to know this truth now. “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) The truth about God’s established kingdom and what God will do truly unites men of all races and nationalities as a New World society now. That unity is what the human family needs. Thus it becomes a great service to mankind today to speak the truth that really unites.
10. How does the truth make men free?
10 When men hear the truth and come to know it, they receive true freedom. They do not live in fear and dread, nor do they hate their neighbors or strangers. The words of Christ Jesus prove true: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) A knowledge of God’s truth frees man from slavery to wrong ideas and unsound political philosophy. It unburdens him of the oppressive traditions that bind like prison chains. The truth is light leading to freedom from false religions.
11. Why speak the truth plainly if it is not always popular?
11 Though the truth is not always popular, it is right to tell the truth and it does good. Millions of persons in the earth today are looking for truth of God’s established kingdom and everlasting life. It would be doing a disservice to mankind to water down such a message. It must be spoken plainly and kindly, and as it falls on the ears of those who are searching for the truth they take it in and want more. God’s truth always stands out in any conversation, just as it did in the days of Christ Jesus when people exclaimed: “Never has another man spoken like this.” (John 7:46) Those who live according to truth as Christ Jesus did and speak it likewise become outstanding in speech.—Acts 4:13.
12, 13. (a) What obligation to speak does God place upon men who know the truth? (b) Why are preaching and teaching so urgent? (c) Who show they have Jehovah’s spirit upon them?
12 Today the invitation is extended to men in all the world to share in speaking the truth about Jehovah’s King and kingdom. It is the purpose of God that throughout the entire world people shall hear of his works and learn to observe the will of God as commanded by Christ Jesus. Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) If any failed to do this, God would still have it done, by appreciative dedicated Christians. And it is being done today, as the history of Jehovah’s people shows. Witnesses by the hundreds of thousands are going throughout the world spreading the truth, letting it be known. The truth spreads like refreshing waters in a dry land. The call goes out in this day of salvation: “The spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.”—Rev. 22:17.
13 God has sent his spirit upon his servants. Great work is being done in harmony with the commission set out at Isaiah 61:1, 2: “The spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive and the wide opening of the eyes even to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of good will on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God; to comfort all the mourning ones.” The truth reveals the nearness of the day of Jehovah’s vengeance, emphasizing the need for diligence in studying and speaking the truth worldwide. “Preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season, reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all long-suffering and art of teaching.” (2 Tim. 4:2) Now when troublesome times have come to the world there is no more important work to be done than preaching the truth. It is an urgent message because lives of people are involved. For the one who may die tomorrow the news is urgent today. Preaching includes teaching, for not all persons who hear the truth readily accept it. Some raise objections, but the preacher who really wields “the sword of the spirit” will overcome objections, though it may require many return visits to take the mental stumbling stones out of the way. The more abundant the truth in one’s personal storehouse the better equipped will be his tongue to speak good things and teach those of good heart. “The very lips of the righteous one keep pasturing many, but for want of heart the foolish themselves keep dying.”—Prov. 10:21.
BY SPEECH AND BY LIFE
14. What divisive practices of the world are avoided by those who serve Jehovah?
14 God’s way is the right way. He teaches his servants to use upbuilding speech in helping others and speaking truth. When one speaks the truth every day it comes easy to him. It is important in every phase of life to speak the truth. The example of world diplomats is not the example for God’s servants to follow. Jesus said: “Just let your word Yes mean Yes, your No, No; for what is in excess of these is from the wicked one.” (Matt. 5:37) That does not allow for flattery or any insincere expression of hospitality or praise. Unity is not fostered by making a promise and then doing something else. Unity does not increase when one speaks for a man in his presence and against him in his absence. It is lies that cause disunity and lead to death. Lovers of righteousness who are servants of God will leave no place in their lives for falsehood, whether in business negotiations, contracts, or family relationship. God does not teach man to lie; he hates liars. “Anyone pronouncing the wicked one righteous and anyone pronouncing the righteous one wicked—even both of them are something detestable to Jehovah.” (Prov. 17:15; 4:24; 3:29; 6:16-19; 11:1) The world in carrying on its evil practices has developed an attitude of suspicion, mistrust and falsehood. Inspectors and agents of all kinds are on the government payrolls trying to keep cheating and falsehood to a minimum, but the world today, from the small ones to the great ones, still has an unenviable record in the sight of God.
15. (a) How is the family united by the truth basic for creating unity in any community? (b) How does the truth keep congregations united?
15 The true servant of Jehovah God speaks truth by his words and by the life he lives. He seeks continually to add to his fund of truth. God has made provision in the family circle for the spreading of truth, and the wise father will preside well over his own household, maintaining the unity of his family on the basis of speaking God’s truth. (1 Tim. 3:4; Deut. 6:7) There will be family unity when proper parental control is exercised over the children and they are not allowed to have their own way in everything. There are times when they must give attention to learning. Time must be set aside in the home for the study of truth, and parents must see that children unite together with others in the community in learning more of the truth. God’s provision is a theocratic congregation. As servants of God increase throughout the earth the number of congregations increases. In the congregation there are many opportunities to speak truth and incite one another to love and fine works. This is all brought about by the public declaration of truth in the congregation. “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24, 25) Herein one sees the structure for making unity through the truth. First of all, the individual learns the truth and fills his heart with it. The individual members of a family become united through the truth. United family groups join together and form a congregation. They all become united around God’s truth. Whenever there are opportunities for social gatherings, upbuilding conversation on the truth will result in great blessing. Through the congregation organization there are opportunities to help individuals who may have been negligent in filling their hearts with truth. Even if some would tend to drift away, a visit to such ones will be profitable and their strong unity can be restored in the congregation.
16. (a) What force is at work to prevent unity in communities and nations? (b) Then how can there ever be a united world?
16 It is regrettable that all human creatures on the earth will not accept the truth of God’s Word, fill their hearts with it and speak truth one with the other. If they would, unity could spread from individual to family, from family to congregation and from congregation to entire communities and nations; but there is an evil influence at work, Satan the Devil, the father of lies. (John 8:44) He is busy stirring up strife for mankind. Satan has blinded their minds and has taught mankind to be selfish, jealous and violent. Their greed and lust for power have taught them to speak falsehoods. That evil influence must be taken away, and it is God’s purpose to do so in the near future. With the destruction of Satan the Devil and all his wicked subjects there will be an end to lying, diplomacy and hypocritical actions. When all men speak truth with one another there will be great happiness and peace.—2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 20:1-3.
17. What are the benefits of speaking the truth with others now?
17 But even now speaking the truth brings happiness. It frees truth lovers from bitterness, faultfinding and envy. People everywhere in the world see the happiness of the united New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses, who have reason to be happy because they know where they are going and what the future holds for them. God’s Word of truth has illuminated their roadway to life. “Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.” (Ps. 119:105) The truth focuses one’s thoughts on spiritual things and gives a vision of the future and its Kingdom blessings. The favor of the Great Giver of everlasting life, Jehovah God, comes upon those who in this time fear him and speak truth with one another. “At that time those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name. ‘And they will certainly become mine,’ Jehovah of armies has said, ‘at the day when I am producing a special property. And I will show compassion upon them, just as a man shows compassion upon his son who is serving him. And you people will again certainly see the distinction between a righteous one and a wicked one, between one serving God and one who has not served him.’” (Mal. 3:16-18) In association with Jehovah’s witnesses rejoice in speaking truth for your salvation and the salvation of any who may hear you.—1 Tim. 4:16.