First and foremost, is it the truth?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 27, 2019 - 12:00am

The Rotary International, which inducted me a few weeks ago, teaches me the Four-Way Test. And the first test is the truth. The truth is the only solid foundation of justice. Justice is the basis of peace. And peace is essential to happiness. Therefore, without the truth, man can never be truly happy.

The famous poet, Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “Rather than love, rather than money, rather than fame, give me the truth.” Another poet of note, Ralph Waldo Emerson also wrote: “Truth is the property of no individual, but the treasure of all humanity.” Kahlil Gibran also wrote: “I am ignorant of the Absolute Truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reputation.” Confucius' words were deeper: “Those who just know the truth are not equal to those who love it.” Gandhi was quoted to have written: “Truth never damages a cause that is just.”

The evangelist, St. John wrote about the Lord when he was facing Pontius Pilate and the Master said: “The reason I was born, and came into this world is to testify to the truth.” To which, Pilate was said to have asked: “What is truth?”

Witnesses in trials and hearings are required to stand before the magistrate, raise his right hand, and put his left hand over the bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It’s very important for witnesses to tell the truth. They aren’t allowed to modify, alter, or omit certain portions of the entire truth, or to add to or embellish the truth in order to make it more pleasant, nice to see, and good to hear. That is why there is a phrase “naked truth” and the “painful” or the “ugly” truth.

Any Rotarian, in the conduct of his business, in his dealings with people, both superiors and subordinates, peers or strangers, is expected to stand by the truth, to decide matters on the basis of what is true. In paying his taxes to the government, in paying wages and benefits to his employees, in the delivery of goods and services, he is called to think, speak, and do in accordance with the truth. Falsehoods and half-truths cannot be the basis of any decision. If there is no truth, there is no justice. If there is no justice, there is no peace. And Rotarians are men and women of peace.

If only public officials and those managing schools and administering church activities, as well as all businessmen and workers alike adhere to the test of truth, in all places and at all times, this world would indeed be a better, gentler, and happier place to live in.

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