Last week, China declared that its output (GDP) increased at an annual rate of seven percent during the second quarter. Interestingly, their economy also increased seven percent in the first quarter, and these numbers exactly match the state's goal for the year.
The markets did not believe the GDP report. The Shanghai stock index fell three percent the day of its release.
Greece joined the European Union using financial reports that were wrong. The Europeans knew (or should have known) they were false, but chose to ignore the issue for political reasons and allow Greece to join the Union. After five years of near default, Greece reached a point where it couldn't pay its bills. On the brink, creditors submitted a proposal that would provide a basis for future negotiation if Greece agreed.
The news of the proposal was received with unbridled enthusiasm by the markets and press. Articles were declaring that Greece had dodged the bullet. But, is that the full truth?
The stage consists of three primary players: Germany (a creditor), the IMF (a creditor) and Greece. Germany has said that debt relief is not an option. The IMF has declared that Greek debt is unsustainable. Most parties, economists, and analysts agree that Greece has almost no chance of meeting the conditions of the current proposal. And we would be unlikely to see a Greek recovery, even if the agreement was followed. The entire process appears to have been filled with partial truths, untruths, and suspect motives.
As citizens in the kingdom, we should be dedicated to truth. Our King is full of grace and truth. We worship in spirit and truth. Mercy and truth allow us to obtain the favor of God and man. The truth will set us free. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth.
"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).
"Do not let mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man" (Prov. 3:3-4).
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).
"But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come" (John 16:13).
As ministers in the kingdom, we have ample opportunity to honor or dishonor the truth. We need to honor, model and teach truth.
- When the mores of society conflict with biblical values, we need to teach the full truth in love.
- As others look the other way with blatant sin in the church, we need to confront with truth in love.
- When it would be easier to exaggerate accomplishments or downplay challenges, we need to speak truth.
- When we make mistakes, we need to be truthfully transparent.
- As others mock, chide or persecute because of our Christian faith, we need to stand for truth.
The world, our country, our churches and our families need truth. Whether unpleasant, challenging, comforting or liberating, truth is always empowering. Let us be full of grace and truth like our King. Let us honor the Lord by standing for truth.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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