A lot of the time, when we think about speaking the truth, we are really talking about having the brashness to voice an opinion. In our self-centric culture, opinion often substitutes for fact. When we say things like, “I’m just telling the truth” we are really saying “I get to determine what truth is.”
This verse is not talking about opinion. It is talking about truth. The truth. Reality as it is. Reality as God establishes and reveals. And the uncomfortable fact is that truth is an acquired taste for us all. The gumption to share our opinion is a small step along the path of seeking truth, not the decisive end. The courage and patience to listen to others is one of the greatest keys to uncovering what is true.
The call laid out in Zechariah is not to boldly proclaim what we think. It is to dialogue together until we discover what is right. Which is why it is accompanied by a reference to sound judgment. The proper application of truth discovered through community is to apply sound judgement among the community members.
As we strive to speak the truth to one another, let us have the humility and courage to adopt a proper perspective. God is infinite, and sees all perspectives at once. By sharing among one another, we gain the benefit of seeing multiple perspectives. We need one another to seek and apply truth. When we share with one another, we are walking as God leads, and He always leads toward our best.
“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.”
– Zechariah 8:16