Please, let’s hold our applause.
For Oprah, I mean.
Before we join ABC News, Hollywood and others declaring Oprah Winfrey “presidential” following her speech at this week’s Golden Globe awards ceremony, let’s wait just a bit.
Citing the “complicated times” we live in, Winfrey said during her acceptance speech that “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
No, Oprah. No, it really isn’t.
Speaking the truth is a powerful tool. But insisting on your truth is actually quite harmful. To speak your truth necessitates that truth is relative to each person, facts be damned.
Lest you think I’m just a conservative religious guy picking nits, consider this summation from the Wall Street Journal: “While many Democrats seem thrilled that Ms. Winfrey could run for president, her vague and shifting sense of the truth is the very thing they often claim to despise about Republicans. The left was quick to criticize President George W. Bush’s ‘truthiness’ and decries Mr. Trump’s use of ‘alternative facts.’”
And “the left” is right to do so.
We all ought to be critical of so-called truthiness and alternative facts from Trump and others because they’re euphemisms for something quite dangerous: lies.
Ironically, though, it was an Oprah world in which truth is relative to each person that landed us in our current sad reality: Hollywood actors, directors and producers all wearing black at the Golden Globes, all rightly taking a stand against sexual harassment and abuse in their industry.
How did we get to this place?
We got to this place because in Hollywood’s not-too-distant yesteryear it was “true” among an awful lot of boorish men that forcing themselves on someone else was OK. A whole bunch of people insisting on their truth, regardless of the truth, always leads us in the wrong direction.
Here’s the truth: it’s always been wrong to harass others. This is not a brave, new reality. It not my truth, nor your truth, nor even their truth – it’s simply the truth.
Always has been.
That’s the beauty and safety of absolute truth – it doesn’t change over time. Truth favors no generation, political party or gender. Truth is our culture’s foundation and safety net.
Absolute moral truth is not the offense that so many people today think it to be; it’s a gift from God. It’s spelled out in his word, the Bible, and has been the cornerstone of any society whose members need to know and agree upon what is reality.
To ignore truth is to ignore reality. We ignore truth at our own peril.
God tells his people to live according to his truth – the only truth – so we may experience the best life possible: “…Do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord,” says Deuteronomy 6, “that it may be well with you.”
Don’t miss that first part: truth, ultimately, is defined and measured by God, not you, or me, or Oprah.
A society in which everyone decides their own truth is what leads us into the very thing Hollywood’s black-clad elite are now supposedly bemoaning.
The irony is stunning.
Yes, it’s commendable that Oprah won the Cecil B. DeMille Award at last Sunday night’s Golden Globes. She’s made tremendous contributions to the entertainment industry.
When it comes to the presidency, however, we’re getting all the entertainment we need already. We can do better. We can choose someone who stands for the truth, not their truth.
So, before we encourage Oprah to run for president, let’s wait just a bit.
For the love of truth, please … let’s hold our applause.
Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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