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Truth: How We Handle it Reveals Our National Character

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We’re losing it, America. We’re losing our country, our pride, our sense of fairness and rightness, our justice and freedom, our uniqueness—our everything. What happened? How are we losing our way after only three and a half generations as a nation? One word: truth. We’ve mangled, devalued, redefined and diluted it.

We’ve warped our perception of truth. We treat it à la carte: selecting what we like, rejecting what we don’t. We replace it with “my truth,” which is rooted in desire rather than reality. Instead of discerning genuine truth with our heads, we embrace desirable falsehoods with our hearts. When we do this consistently, we lose the ability to think critically. We base our beliefs on our fickle feelings rather than on immutable truth.

When we ignore truth’s essential nature—its objectivity—we lose the ability to weigh opinions and assertions against it. Without truth’s constancy, we lose a fixed reference point. We’re like mariners navigating without the North Star.

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This failure leaves us open to accepting others’ truths and well-intentioned falsehoods—even when their truths are diametrically opposed to reality.

True believers

It’s not that others mean to mislead us. Most don’t do so consciously or nefariously. Almost all are true believers. They swapped truth for their truths long ago. Most are professors, politicians and pundits who’ve had a lot of practice pontificating at podiums and in front of cameras.

What makes them effective in eroding our trust in truth is their passion. They believe what they believe more than we believe what we believe. It’s a power play. College professors tell students what is true; they don’t teach them to think for themselves. Defending viewpoints through debate is no longer part of the curriculum.

Professors are so sure of their beliefs and so unwilling to allow spirited dissent and sealed so tightly in their echo chambers that they propagandize rather than prepare students for the real world. Same goes for celebrities, senators and talking heads.

Is it any wonder that our social media interactions are drenched in talking points and accepted opinions? Facebook and Twitter are not platforms for respectful discourse or persuasion. Without honest debate and respect for differing viewpoints, many resort to name-calling and shutdown words like troll and hater and racist and bigot.

Dark days and a sure hope

When great nations and empires fall, they erode and crumble from within. How a people handles truth reflects their national character and determines their future.

As Americans, how have we treated truth? By justifying abortion on demand and for convenience as a woman’s “choice?” By discarding basic biology and science by pretending one’s feelings about one’s gender is a matter of choice rather than design? Do we continue trampling truth by rewriting history for political purposes and ignoring context and common sense?

It’s not too late to right our national ship. To do so, we must change course from a heading that’s bearing us toward the shoals of subjectivity to the surety and safety of time-honored truth. As in all things, Jesus is the answer: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus invites us to embrace truth and, with it, freedom. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God is the source of all truth. Rejecting what he says is true and replacing it with subjective, desire-driven falsehoods is a form of rebellion. Accepting the true and the beautiful reality of God leads to joy and peace. When we know there is a firm foundation of truth and goodness and joy, we can rest in it—and in a God who, in truth, loves his children with a perfect and eternal love.

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Patrick grew up in Texas and graduated from the University of North Texas with a master’s degree in journalism and advertising. His undergraduate degree is in English and photography. He served six years in the U.S. Navy where his life was changed forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California with his wife, dog and two cats. He enjoys hiking and cycling, taking pictures, writing and blogging at https://luscri.com/



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Faith

Seek Out the Good in Others

If you try, you can find at least one thing admirable in everyone you meet.

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Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Something Admirable

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can actually say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.” Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery?  Guess again.

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You’re on this planet for finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Finding the Good

Try thinking of and listing five people who you may not have a good relationship with but can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write what is good about them. Do they maintain a nice garden? Here are some ideas for you in case you’re drawing a blank. This person…

* Is kind to the receptionist at work.
* Turns assignments in on time, and hence, supports the team.
* Walks softly past your office, so as not to disturb you.
* Greets you in the morning when you arrive.
* Maintains his or her office well.

Away from work, here are some ideas for finding the good in others:
* Keeps the street in front of the yard free of debris.
* Is respectful of others’ needs for quiet.
* Dresses well.
* Has well-behaved children.
* Drives safely in the neighborhood.

If you try, you’ll find something good!

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Faith

Reducing Stress Through Prayer, and More

Taking a few minutes out of a hectic day can spell the difference between frenzy and tranquility

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Prayer has been an effective method for soothing the soul since people first believed in God. For some people, the payoff comes with sitting still, and being quiet. Many feel a direct connection with God which, in itself, is calming. Those who attend a place of worship every Sunday find that praying with others is comforting. Reverence to God, fellowship, and familiar chants and hymns can all aid in reducing stress and bringing inner contentment.

If you haven’t prayed in a while, in addition to the religious aspects, the stress reduction can be magnificent. Even if you never attend a formal prayer service, informal prayer, by your bedside, in a comfortable chair, or somewhere in nature can work as well. Some of the most accomplished and admirable people who have ever walked this earth have been deeply religious and have found great comfort in prayer.

Other Options

In our rush-rush society, your ability to take a few minutes out of a hectic day can spell the difference between frenzy and tranquility. The majority of stress we experience is a result of the daily deluge of information and communication we come in contact with on top of the amount of tasks we need to accomplish. If you have been experiencing severe stress, it might mean the difference between a long life and a shortened one.

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People have long used drugs (prescribed and otherwise!) and medications to achieve certain effects. I’m not knocking all of these substances – some of them probably live up to their mystique; however, there is no need to engage in drugs, considering there are so many other ways to effectively reduce stress.

Amidst the flurry of reports from medical researchers, many people also rely on a glass or two of wine each day to relax. If this is your habit, and it works for you, you’re probably on reasonably safe ground. The latest research, however, paints a less rosy picture about wine’s beneficial effects. I’m concerned, as well, about the long-term effects of having two glasses of wine, 365 days a year, for 10 or 20 years.

Change for Real

It often seems like people around you are enamored by some techniques such as meditation or yoga, but in reality, most people who practice these or other techniques do so only a handful of times. Then, they revert back to what they did previously.

The changes that you implement need to come without too much pain, to be subtle, even natural and easy. Otherwise, you probably won’t stick with them. Lasting and effective change can come from small incremental change. So, keep in mind that not every technique will strike your fancy. Enough of them will fit your lifestyle, and will work for you enough of the time for you to stay with them and to ultimately exercise control in ways that you have always wanted.

Talking to Someone

The mere act of talking to someone about issues confronting you can be stress reducing, and certainly more effective than mentally stewing over things alone. In The Psychological Society, author Martin L. Gross concluded that “the modern industry of psychology in America was no more effective in treating patients than witch doctors in Africa were in treating people who came to them.”

The key was whether or not the patient believed that the doctor had healing powers. Hence, if you believe that a witch doctor can help you, then a witch doctor can be as effective as a psychiatrist. A trusted friend or relative, with whom you can discuss your problems, can be equally effective.

The idea of talking to someone about what is stressing you is not so much that you will find a solution then and there, but that the mere physical act of discussing the stressor moves you closer to resolution, perhaps using one of the techniques discussed in this article.

Using Humor

Throughout the ages, humor has also been a primary tool in helping to reduce stress. Don’t discount the power of humor before trying it. If it’s been a while, or forever, since you’ve engaged in humor to reduce stress, you’re in for a treat. I’m not talking about jokes or side-splitting belly laughs, but rather a gleeful, playful acceptance of the inane and absurd situations that you encounter, and as a business owner you have your share of them.

The ability to laugh at yourself or to laugh at your situation might spell the fundamental difference between those who show resilience in the face of hard times, and those who face nervous breakdowns.

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