Summary: The points about truth that we so often forget.
“Buy truth and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Pr 23:32)
Could you recollect last when you were out buying something? Then suppose someone had intervened to ask, “why are you buying this?” You would have at least replied this, “I need this”. Need! This has become a word of everyday usage. One cannot recount how often he was out there, to satiate his need, confessing the reason for seeking to his neighbours; ‘I need this! Man is surrounded by needs all the time; physiological and psychological. Your physiological needs arises from your physical self; needs of your daily provisions for your body as well as your kin dependent on you. While your psychological needs arise from your social self; the society or community of which you are a part; needs for your social belonging, status and self-esteem. These two needs are mutually inclusive; they cannot be separated. As your body and soul are inseparable while you live, so are these two needs. You cannot do without anyone. Lack of your physical needs may starve you to death; nevertheless, lack of social belonging can cause severe mental depression and suffering. Imagine why some prisoners sentenced to severe and rigorous imprisonment are kept alone in cell; banished from the outside world! And how much St John might have suffered when he was ostracized to a lonely island of Patmos! Hence, needs are natural. Adam, when he became a living creature, felt himself surrounded by all types of need. Hence, we see why God takes him to the Garden of Eden. Bible says that, “God took Adam to the Garden of Eden to tend and to keep it” (Ge 2:15). God wanted Adam to work with his hands and earn his living. Then God saw the need of social belonging of man when he said, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Ge 2:18). So God made woman and gave her to Adam. This not only explains that needs is natural, but also gives clear confirmations that needs are not free. Man has to strive for fulfilling his needs. This was actually asserted by God later when He said, “in toil you shall eat of it” (Ge 3:17). Not only this, man has to buy it!
So what was instituted at the time of creation is recurring till now. In toil one seeks for his living! As you work hard to fetch your physical needs, in the same way you strive to gain or maintain your social belongingness, status and self-esteem. You try and migrate to a better place or community, try and get a more respectable job in a reputed company, get better education from best schools or colleges; not only for yourself but also for your children, seek for life partners akin to you. All these you do to gain recognition in your society. We all do it the best way we could to meet all these needs. If we do it in the best way or the most true way, then why does Bible interrupt us with this “buy truth and don’t sell it!”
Bible has never been vague in its sayings. The fact is that, everytime we have done any act of fulfilling our needs, we have heeded our conscience speaking to us the approbation of the act? For our conscience taught us the appropriateness of the act that catered to our needs till now. He is the main person behind the scenes to direct all our acts. The amplitude of the arousal by our conscience, to do the act, does alter with the magnitude of our needs and to him this is implicit. As our need rises, he seeks for better ways to fulfill those. It is the needs that give rise to various desires in an individual, the word that appears in the Bible several times. It is our conscience that invokes desires in us and these desires invigorates actions. Desires are good as well as evil. Evil desires come in as a result of manipulation of any need, to meet it in the shortest or easiest possible way irrespective of the rectitude. Now, though our conscience is a hidden person within us assigned with a sense of right and wrong, the sad news is that it seldom senses right and never annunciates anything wrong to his physical companion. For, this person was seared with hot iron in the Garden of Eden when he heeded the voice of the enemy. Professing to be wise he became a fool. Since then to cover his foolishness, he always tries all sorts of excuse and teaches his physical companion the same. Hence, his physical companion, unable to withold, sells truth, his precious possession, to fulfill his needs. Again I repeat; ‘it takes the shortest or easiest possible way; irrespective of the rectitude’.