Imagine you know something which everyone else wants to know. Imagine you can choose whether to tell people what you know, or keep it a secret. Imagine that if you did decide to tell someone else, you could be as truthful as you wanted to be; it might be fun to exaggerate a few things here, to miss out a few details there. Imagine how powerful you’d feel!
Now image someone knows something about you. Maybe they know about something you’re ashamed of, maybe they saw you on an off day, when you made some mistakes. Imagine they are the only person who knows what you did. You’d probably want to make sure your secret was kept safe, so your reputation didn’t suffer. Imagine the uncertainty; imagine how helpless you’d feel.
We often say ‘knowledge is power’ and I guess we can apply that idea to lots of different situations. Knowing something does bring with it considerable power. The power to share that knowledge or keep it to yourself. The power to protect that knowledge from corruption, or to manipulate it. The power to use that knowledge for good, or evil.
This week the long awaited Chilcot report will hit the country. 7 years after it was commissioned to look into the UK’s role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There’s a real sense that the country needs to hear the truth, so we can move on. I suppose many of the families of those soldiers who fought and died in Iraq are hopeful of some kind of closure; I hope they hear what they need.
The report seems shrouded in mystery; you wonder why its taken so long. After such a wait you can still read the criticisms of the inquiry, the allegations of perceived bias; the worries about censorship and manipulation. I
suppose we’re left wondering if the answers the country will get will be the ones it wants.
Perhaps the difficulty with preserving the truth is that it often becomes a victim at the hands of those who want to protect their power. Naturally people will fight to preserve their status or reputation, and I suppose it’s part of our nature to justify our actions, even if that means bending the truth from time to time. It’s difficult to admit you got it wrong, especially when so much is at risk.
God makes it pretty clear what he thinks of those who don’t protect the truth, and those who plot evil:
Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Whatever we think of the credibility of the Chilcot Inquiry, whatever we think we’ll learn when it’s published, whatever closure we hope the nation will find, it’s comforting to know that in God we have someone whose truth and integrity are second to none.
Job 34:12 ESV “Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.”