Truth is bitter : Do you like it ?

Liba Hopeson *

If you have an inquisitive mind, or if you are a person who often reason, and at times become picky and fastidious, not quick to accept something said by others, by reading the title of the this article, 'truth is bitter', you may question, "What truth do the writer mean".

One of my friends often tells me that there is no universal truth. It may be true based on his arguments. If I am also argumentative, I can also argue and say there is no universal truth. Yes, there are certain relative truths and half truths, which appear to be the real truths.

So, it is a complicated subject indeed. But, I believe that there are certain truths which we all have in mind, though I don't point out specifically. Many people though do not try to define truth, often engage themselves in deliberating about the subject truth. I am sure, you have heard someone saying, 'he is a truthful man', or 'she is a truthful woman'.

One day, a friend of mine told me that some of his friends were hurt and angry with him because he spoke the truth. Looking little dejected and apprehensive, calling may name Liba, he added, 'truth is bitter'. In fact, it was a good reminder to me, for I had been musing over this topic for some years.

Now, I want you to ask yourself, 'do I like truth'? Today, many people raise their voice against corruption, so does it mean that they really love and like truth? There are many who say that we need dynamic and truthful leaders today, so, do they also like truth? Yes, there are many who say that, politicians, bureaucrats, and officers are not truthful. Are those who speak out against these people truthful?

Candidly, I am very much doubtful. You may think that I am raising some absurd and futile questions, but I deem it apt to ask such questions.

You may wonder and question, who on earth will not like truth. Who do not like truthful persons? Who like corruptors, cheaters, liars, deceivers? All the people are looking for truthful leaders, so why does the writer question about it? Many may not agree with me, but I am of the view that, in our society today, majority of the people do not like truth. How? Why? It is simply because truth is bitter. We speak against corruptors, but when there is a truthful person what happens? Fire burns in the land! Another problem ensues.

A corruptor is disliked by the people, but a truthful person becomes a big enemy of the people. I have really seen and discovered that truthful persons are hated more by the people. Truthful Government officers are frequently transferred from one place to another because people do not like them. Truthful leaders are even chased out from different places.

Truthful preachers, who often speak out prophetic messages, are considered to be bad preachers who do not love and know God. They are criticized and condemned for speaking ill of others. A teacher who is strict in the examination hall is considered to be a bad and inconsiderate. I have heard many parents criticizing those teachers who did not allow their children to copy or do unfair means in the examination. They say that those teachers are very irresponsible, having no concern for their students.

But teachers who are liberal and assist the students in the exam halls are appreciated, lauded and thanked. However, those teachers who are strict in the examination centers who do not allow any students to copy are loathed, lambasted and condemned by parents and students. I have heard that some teachers were beaten badly by the students after exam for being strict in the exam hall, in other words, for being truthful in their obligation. And interestingly, if a teacher is beaten because he does not allow students to copy, some parents would say, 'he deserves it'.

I am sorry if I am confusing you because this never happen to you. I am just bringing the realities of some contexts. But I believe, this is one of the reasons, some of our communities are still far behind in education.

Truth is bitter. I was hurt by some people sometimes because they spoke the truth to me. I have hurt some people because I spoke the truth to them. When somebody speaks the truth to us, many times we cannot bear and tolerate, and hence we defend ourselves or retort them. Those who speak the truth are often disliked and hated. In the Old Testament's time, many hated the prophets because they (prophets) spoke the truth. Jesus was hated by many, especially the Pharisees and

Sadducees, because he spoke the truth. They tried to even kill him. Today, we come across many rejoinders because many write articles containing truth. Those who write rejoinders, though not all, write counter attacks to the articles, because they cannot bear those truthful words described. So, I come to learn that, unless we have the truth, we'll not like truth.

What should we do then to like truth? Can we like truth though we don't have it? It is of my view that, if we don't have truth, we'll not like truth dearly. So, to love and like truth we have to search for it and possess it. We have to have truth in us. We have to try to live a truthful life. Then, we will dislike and abhor what is false.

If you ask me, "do you like truth"? My answer would be yes, but not absolutely. Then, you would further question, is it half-truth then? Do I only like some truths? I would say I like truth which I have or practice. Do I not trust myself? Is it just ridiculous and unnecessary low self-esteem and distrust on myself?

Sometimes, one should doubt and question oneself before doubting and questioning others. I may say that I like all the truthful things. But if someone accuse me or speak against me, regarding something which I don't have or do, I may feel bad or angry. Of course there are many who confess that they learn through criticisms or corrections, and they thank those who criticize or speak against them.

Undeniably, we learn from them. However, there are certain things unspoken to them, because it will certainly hurt them. It is truth. I find hard to believe on those who invite others to share everything openly about them point out their weakness, mistakes and loopholes and so on. If we do it, they will be certainly hurt.

To transform a society, we need truthful leaders. At the same time, we need truthful followers. However, I don't mean that unless all the people are truthful, we cannot bring change. In many places, change was/is brought by few individuals. But, in some communities, it's hard to bring change though there are good and truthful leaders. The simple reason is that, the people cannot follow those leaders because they consider them (truthful leaders) to be unloving, unkind, too austere, cruel etc. Why? It is because they (the People) are not faithful and truthful.

Consequently, everything what the leader advocates are considered to be bad and hence unacceptable. When the leader speaks out the truth, they cannot digest it because truth is bitter. Indeed, as we see our society today, we may say that we lack dynamic and truthful leaders. But, if more truthful leaders arise in our land, can we stand and tolerate? Are we going to be happy and appreciate those leaders? Do you think more people will be there to elevate their status, or more will be there to oppose and debase them? To me, by studying the present context, more will be there to go against them.

Why? It is because truth is bitter. No doubt, many may refute this notion to be wrong and baseless. Nevertheless, if we think critically, it will be true. For, we can see that, still majority like corruption, though there are many who go against it. With this argument, I don't mean to state that unless majority of the people change or become truthful, those who are desirous to lead the people cannot rise and lead effectively. But many truthful persons refrain from speaking or acting truth because they know that it will not be taken or accepted by the people. It may sound preposterous, but it's true.

We need to have truth in order to like truth. Once, I did something truthfully, and thereafter, I become an object of mockery. I become a fool in the sight of many. It was considered to be an action in vain. Yes, truth is bitter. Unless we have the truth we'll not like it. So, in order to love and like the truth, we need to search for it and posses it. It is really bitter. Do you like it?

* Liba Hopeson , a resident of Purul, wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on July 29, 2013.

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