Mark Twain once quipped that “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” A bit of an exaggeration, but close to the Truth! Personally siding with Truth is simply a cleaner, less cluttered and more authentically human way to live. Not to mention, a Christian virtue.
From my about-to-be-released new book, Miss Marple: Christian Sleuth, in the chapter “Truth Will Out”:
Jesus said that “If you continue in my word … you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:32). Jesus himself embodied the highest Truth—living it, proclaiming it, calling others to its standards. For those who heed the call, it is possible to grow in becoming Jesus’ light and justice in the world. But when individuals choose to oppose Truth, the opposite of freedom results; they experience the stranglehold of deceit, and sometimes even death.
Miss Marple’s creator herself, Agatha Christie, wrote that, “Truth, however bitter, can be accepted, and woven into a design for living.” This is certainly true in the many mystery stories in which Miss Marple not only sides with Truth, following her Christian conscience and sense of duty, but seems to become one with a drive for justice. Through her efforts, she herself becomes woven into the pattern that will eventually bring the case to a fair and just conclusion.
How does she do this? In the most personal and individual of ways: by being herself, a person with the highest ideals who prays, works, and, as much as possible, seeks to align her will with God’s will.
She is not afraid to put strenuous demands on her own time, her personal energies, and her available resources. And she turns her decision-making faculties over to this force for good, as well.
In each story, it seems, something different is demanded of her; and even through doubts and many confusions, she rises to the occasion—not singlehandedly, but usually working within the specific community. She consistently relies on others around her as compatriots, to balance her, inform her, support her, and then to share in the credit when Truth finally “outs.”
In this season of desperate longing for “peace, goodwill” toward all peoples, we look to the coming of Christ, and pray that we may, by “speaking the truth in love … grow up in every way into him” (Eph. 4:15).