At a p’shat level, truth is a middah that expresses itself in the realm of speech. Much Mussar work on truth focuses on guarding the tongue from speaking words that may be false or purposely give another a false impression. There is, however, another layer of truth. This layer has less to do with what we say and more to do with the way we live our lives. Truth is a middah which binds us to our Creator and is demonstrated in deeds and thoughts beyond the realms of speech.
Yochanan mentions truth five times in the introduction of his second letter. Each time reveals a new layer of the nature of truth. One can love in truth. There is a way to truly love and a way to love falsely. Loving falsely means that affection and care are given to another for the sake of selfish gain. To truly love, there must be commitment that transcends the want for something in return-to love in truth is to love without requirement of personal gain.
One can know the truth. Truth is not subjective at its core level. Truth can be discovered and integrated into one’s life. While truth has many facets and angles, and it is not always simple, it does exist.
The truth can reside in us and be with us. Truth is a value that can be lodged into our hearts and minds. Truth is a value that stays with us and will not leave us, though we can decide to remove it. In other words, we do not have to be dishonest at all. It is possible that truth will never leave us.
We can walk in the truth. Truth is a way of living. The way we carry out our lives and see the world around us can be shaped by our willingness to let truth be the path we walk upon…
So…one may ask, what is truth?! In this case, truth is the reality of God, God’s love, God’s Son, and our commitment to him. What if we were to think of truth in this way all the time? What if we were to tell ourselves to not see, think, say, or do anything that would disconnect us from the truth that our God is real, our God cares, and we are the community of those who are faithful to Yeshua? This is the truth of which Yohanan speaks — this is the truth we have an opportunity to bring to the world around us, starting in our own hearts and minds. May we all walk in the truth.