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Truth or consequences


During the 1940s, NBC radio introduced Ralph Edwards’ game show, “Truth or Consequences.” The show became an instant hit and for 17 years was carried on their network. The show mixed the quiz element of a game show with crazy stunts. When the contestants failed to complete the “Truth” portion, they had to pay the “Consequences,” usually performing an embarrassing screwball stunt of some kind.

Our lives are a lot like Mr. Edwards’ game show. When we make errors in life, we often endure serious consequences. For example, when we first purchased an automobile, we had a lot to learn before we could successfully drive and care for that car. That’s the reason vehicles come with “owner’s manuals.” That’s why our parents, when we were teenagers, taught us to drive and take care of a vehicle. That’s why we have driving schools today.

Consider the potential consequences of driving a car without sufficient oil in the crankcase; the engine could be destroyed. Think of what could happen if the driver failed to replace a tire that was seriously worn and the tire “blew out” while driving at high speed on the highway causing the driver to lose control of the auto. Or think of the potential consequences when the radiator doesn’t contain enough coolant and the engine is destroyed from overheating.

Letting our parents teach us, or reading and understanding the “owner’s manual,” or going to driving school are vital parts of automobile ownership.

Life offers us many similar “Truth or Consequences” circumstances as well. One of today’s more serious “consequences” is the rapid decay we’re experiencing in America’s foundational Judeo-Christian culture, an accelerating decay that began shortly after World War II.

If we compare today’s Judeo-Christian dilemma to the driver’s-training example above, we can fairly easily blame today’s serious cultural decline on several similar elements: (1) lack of parental guidance; (2) our failure to read and teach the Bible the “owner’s manual” for America’s Judeo-Christian culture; along with (3) the general lack of honest and effective leadership and study materials in our American schools, colleges, and churches.

Today, many maybe most Americans born between 1940 and 1970 are unaware that their grandparents and great-grandparents lived through this country’s Great Depression, helped win World War II, and survived the Dust Bowl. Unfortunately, many of us today do not honor those grandparents and great-grandparents for doing their part in making their generation “America’s Greatest Generation.”

The leaders of that famous generation understood, cherished, and passed to us those same strong characteristics and that Judeo-Christian way of life they had inherited from their ancestors. That biblically based culture they loved and “lived by” dated back to 1620 when William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims founded Plymouth Colony.

Unfortunately, our country’s leadership today is allowing that strong character to seriously deteriorate. Recently we read that “today’s world is in its present mess because of the absence of character. The glue that holds society together has been allowed to dry out. We have come unstuck, and we shall certainly fall apart unless somehow we can put moral virtues back into fashion.”

Billy Graham has put it this way: “If our leaders are weak in character and in moral strength, our nation may fall before the blows of barbarians and the moral termites within. There is a hungering and a longing on the part of millions of Americans for honest statesmen who will speak their convictions and tell the truth.”

Looks like Ralph Edwards was right. If we aren’t following the “Truth” we should expect to pay the “Consequences.”

Ken and Nan Webster have collected inspiration for many years from many sources, and now inspire readers of “A Matter That Matters.” Contact them at kennanco@gmail.com or visit www.kennancompany.com.

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