The Western obsession with concrete reasoning has reduced the issue of truth to mere facts. This is where we get the term “propositional truth” — an obsession that seeks to tie human hands and perception to a false god of mere human intellect. The term itself is meant to deny that we have a spirit or a heart by asserting that such things simply don’t make any real difference. I’m hardly the only preacher who objects to the use of that term in religion. True faith does not rest on mere facts.
When you play the game of objective reality, you open up faith to attacks from any crackpot with a good grasp of Aristotelian logic. It is transparently obvious that reason and proof are steered by human belief, and that it could never possibly be the other way around. People are hard-wired to seek justification for their lusts. Depersonalizing truth simply gives people an excuse to ignore the heart of conviction where God speaks. It’s an attempt to remake God into the image of your fleshly appetites by draining away His personality and character, and making Him a mere machine. It amounts to asserting that He’s not supposed to care about whether you actually respond to Him in love, only that you dotted every I and crossed every T. It’s the god of rules and legalism, a god that has only ever existed in human imagination.
And it reduces the whole discussion of truth down to facts, a legalism that obliges you to expose your very thoughts and personal character to the fallen judgment of others. You aren’t permitted to be a real person with some privacy of thought. Your very most inward thoughts become property of the world at large, as if some human authority can demand you treat some indefinable body of humans as your lawful “tribe.” It’s just a step away from communism, where the individual is wholly owned by some random collective that has bothered to organize. This is something characteristic of Anglo-Saxon culture in particular, but can be found in other cultures. This stands at the very root of Western Civilization, the epitome of materialism.
(Keep in mind that Anglo-Saxon mythology contains both the radical individualism and the communitarian ownership of the individual as a sort of yin and yang tension. They are characterized as masculine and feminine social identity, respectively.)
In biblical terms, “telling the truth” is exposing the moral importance of something in the current context from God’s point of view. It is giving what is appropriate for the people involved in terms of roles and relations. You don’t have to admit to the drug-addled beggar that you are carrying cash in your pocket so as to excuse his/her haranguing you and causing a scene until you surrender some of it. You don’t have a moral obligation to admit to the State that your mother gave you a substantial cash gift for Christmas when you file your taxes, nor does she (technically, the donor pays the assessed tax). You also don’t have to confess to others your private lusts, particularly if you don’t act on them.
You don’t give pearls to swine — Jesus said that in part referring to lawful Jewish authorities as “swine.” The previous verses describe the hypocrisy of false judgment so common among Pharisees, the Hellenized legalists He criticized without mercy. In other words, you owe to others what God says you owe them. That’s what was behind Paul’s comments in Romans 13, particularly in verse 10: “Love works no ill to its neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (MKJV). The point is not some imaginary objective honesty, but the redemptive glorification of Christ. Redirecting the focus onto Christ’s glory is not a sneaky manipulative trick to avoid facing culpability. God says He owns you, so mere men cannot gin up an alleged claim to something you bear in your soul or your pockets, if that claim interferes with His calling in your life.
You may not succeed in keeping the pigs from your pearls and dogs from your holy offering to God, but your resistance from a heart of conviction is what Christ demands of you. When wicked people take what belongs to God, it is in His hands to judge, in the time and on terms He sees fit.
“Telling the truth” means saying what God says to you in your heart.