The year I introduced “truth” as the theme for my students, I came across Proverbs 23:23. It quickly became my theme verse; it so succinctly describes my mission! “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.” There is so much packed into that powerful little verse!
Let’s start at the beginning. “Buy” implies that the purchase has value. You would not buy something that you didn’t value. To buy also implies a “cost”. For those of us who “buy” unpopular truths, the cost can be tremendous. For some, it has cost their lives. So if we are going to “buy” the truth, we need to be absolutely sure that it is “true truth”.
When I was a little girl, it was common to use the term “buy” to indicate our level of belief of someone’s story. “I’ll buy that!” meant “I believe that!”
Truth is defined in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary as “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be.” What an excellent definition! Notice that truth is tied to reality, not someone’s perception or preference. This is what I referred to as “true truth”.
So in practice, someone who “buys” the truth is willing to hear truth even if it hurts to hear, and we are willing to adjust our presuppositions to line up with what is true rather than trying to bend the truth to fit our preferred presuppositions.
If we understand the value of the truth we have purchased, then we certainly will not be willing to sell it. What does it look like to “sell” the truth? For my students, it might be that student who witnessed a classmate doing something harmful to another student, but out of fear or a desire to be accepted, didn’t speak up either to protect the student or to report the incident. The truth was “sold” to buy acceptance or avoid discomfort. It might be that time that we go along with the crowd when we know the crowd is wrong or doing the wrong thing. It might be those times we are in denial and act contrary to the truth because we do not want to believe or accept the truth, even though deep down, we do know it. It would be any time we do not let the truth we know to prevail in our decisions or actions, presumably because, at the moment, we are valuing something else more than the truth.
Jesus said that He is the truth. (John 14:6) In God’s economy, it is never necessary to “sell” the truth for some “greater good”. Do not sell it!
As the principal, buying the truth and not selling it might look like this:
- I listen to my teachers or school parents and consider their feedback, even when it hurts, and I search for and consider what is true in what they say, and adjust accordingly.
- I listen to students – even and especially those in trouble. I want to know the full picture of what transpired and why. I want to get the full perspective of all involved so I can discern what is true about the incident.
- I reflect on my decisions, policies, and procedures to ensure they are soundly based on truth and if they are not, make corrections and apologies.
- Most of all, it means I read God’s Word often and carefully to ensure I recognize the truth from the lie and to firmly establish biblical presuppositions.
What does buying the truth and not selling it look like when you put it into practice?