This is the fifth and final post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

I have battled and sought out the answers to this question of what it means to stand up for what's right especially in the midst so much evil around us today.  It seems that people do not have a clue anymore about what is wrong and what is right.  I thought I knew the answer: State the Truth, letting people know what's wrong and what's right.  Yet somehow I felt pushy and standoffish when I put that into practice.  I think there is yet a better way than I have written about so far.  And it came to me by means of listening to a friend through whom God spoke.

In the spirit of "saving the best for last," allow me to expound on the meaning of what it means to speak the Truth in this final post in the "Truth's Heroes" series.

Up until this point, I have been saying that the best way to stand up for what's right is to speak the Truth, letting people know when they do wrong and when they do right, extending Grace - the opportunity for change - all the while.  While I think this was a good start, it is not the conclusion.  But the problem is that people who do wrong do not think they are doing wrong.  The question then, is how do you speak the Truth of right and wrong to someone without waving the finger at them?  Jesus, after all, while He definitely spoke the Truth, never did it in a finger-pointing sort of way.  Jesus, instead, questioned people's motives, stating the Truth in Love and Compassion.  Today, we should do the same thing Jesus did - more than 2,000 years ago.  This is because people have not changed - we still experience the same emotions and feelings that our ancestors did, and because God does not change: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

The conclusion to this matter of how to speak the Truth can be found in a story in the book of Acts chapter 17.

In this part of the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul is traveling from city to city preaching and teaching the Truth that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).  In chapter 17, starting in verse 16, Paul makes it to Athens, the great Greek city.

Greeks loved their gods, as Paul soon discovered.  Paul was "greatly distressed" by all the gods they had and how many temples they had made in honor of them (Acts 17:16), so he began to reason with them (17:17).  This, then is the first principle: Speaking the Truth respectfully and with reason will produce eager listening.  Reason comes from mature thoughts, not from finger-pointing and condemnation, which stems only from anger and arrogance.  Paul reasoned with the people in Athens, listening to their ideas, but then giving them the Truth that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the One True God.

You see, Truth does not need anything else to speak on Its behalf.  Paul merely stated the facts, the Holy Spirit did the rest of the work in the ears and minds of those listening.

Soon the people began to question Paul (17:18) and brought him to one of their great meetings (17:19), where Paul was able to speak the Truth to many more people, which he does elegantly in verses 22 through 31.

At the end of his speech to the council (which I would encourage you to read), verse 32 says that some believed and wanted to hear more, but others sneered and said that was enough.  This is the second principle: Speaking the Truth will not immediately bring change.

What I love about this story is that Paul's attitude was never one of self-righteousness, "I'm better than you" thinking.  Paul, just as his Lord Jesus modeled perfectly in the Gospels, stated the Truth in Love, with true compassion for the people with whom he spoke.  Paul didn't run up to the statues of the false gods and tear them down, shouting to the people, "You're wrong if you believe this!  Turn to Jesus!"  The people certainly would have thrown him out and definitely wouldn't have listened to him if he had done this.  Instead, Paul reasoned with the people, listened to them, and then spoke the Truth - and the Truth didn't need any other added help to make Itself known to the people.  All It needed was a messenger; in this case, Paul.

The next time I see someone taking part in something I know is wrong, I am going to practice the tact of Truth-telling, which comes from the fruits of Love, Compassion, and Respect.

On the other hand, there is something to be said of Discipline, whereas a child refuses to share his toys with his other playmates.  You cannot reason with a young child.  Discipline and Training stemming from Love are needed at this stage in life.  But when dealing with adults, one should definitely practice Paul's strategy in Truth-telling.  Or, better yet, study the Master Teacher Himself - Jesus - in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

This marks the fifth and final post in the series entitled "Truth's Heroes."  But don't let your quest for Truth end here - always question, always seek, and then you will always find! (Matthew 7:7).