Character and Virtue: Truthfulness
Dr. Michelle L. Louer
Director of Music and Fine Arts


The subject of truthfulness, on its face, seems a simple topic. Truth, after all, is obvious, isn’t it? Right is right and wrong is wrong. However, if there is anything the last few years have demonstrated, it is that the designation of truth has become a complicated matter – Who determines what is true and what is not true? What is the source of a “truth”? What evidence exists to support or refute a claim? What is the role of perception and interpretation? Often our search for “the truth” becomes a search for confirmation of what we have already chosen to believe.

Jesus, in the Gospel of John, challenges this approach to the discernment of truth. From the opening verses of the book, the person of Jesus is associated with truth: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us—full of grace and truth.” In Chapter 14, Jesus directly equates himself with truth: “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.”

The verses for this Sunday make clear that it is truth, as incarnated in Jesus’ own self that liberates us from the confines of our sin and suffering. The standard for “the truth” is not reliant on the search for evidence, vetting of sources, or one’s interpretation. The standard is the very life of Jesus whose instruction to us in the John 13 is that we love one another, just as Jesus has loved each of us.

Jesus, who is the Truth, shows us the Way. This new commandment surpasses dictates, rules, and mandates as it gathers them all up in this single statement. The Gospel of John calls us to not only speak the truth in love, but to live the truth in love. It is in living in love that we are set free to experience the fullness of life.

How do you determine what is truth? What would Jesus do?