Darrow Miller and Friends

Three Stories of Courageous Truth, part 2

  1. Three Stories of Courageous Truth
  2. Three Stories of Courageous Truth, part 2
  3. Courageous Truth: A Current Example

Humans can choose truth over lies.

We either allow lies to have power over us, or we deny that power by a simple act: turn off the TV, put down the video game, walk away from the gossip. We need not be overwhelmed. A simple act of resistance can defeat the lie and reestablish our humanity. As Irish writer, playwright and commentator John Waters points out, “the power of the lie … can be broken by the individual’s choosing to refuse.” Waters continues,

There is an answer to those who feel that the neo-powers of modern society, in whatever guise, are too overwhelming to be resisted by just one person. [Czech Republic president Victor] Havel shows us that it is precisely in the single act of one person that the lie is exposed and undermined. [quoting Havel] “Individuals can be alienated from themselves only because there is something in them to alienate. The terrain of this violation is their authentic existence.”

Hempels lived in the truth
Wikimedia Commons

Authentic existence is walking in truth. One person’s decision exposes the lie and breaks its power, not just for that individual but for all who witness the refusal.

Otto and Elsie Hempel did exactly that. They said No to the Nazis.

The Hempels’ only son was conscripted into the German army at the beginning of World War II and became one of the first soldiers killed in the conflict. Otto and Elsie were shattered, and so angry at the evil of the Third Reich that they decided to expose the Nazi lie.

The Hempels spoke truth to the Nazi lie

Over the course of many months, the Hempels wrote hundreds of post cards and secreted them in public places: train stations, restrooms, grocery stores, etc. These cards detailed the lies of the Nazi government and war machine. When most Germans were either supporting the regime or living in the lie to save their lives, this ordinary, courageous couple told the truth. German authorities launched a widespread manhunt and they were eventually caught, tried and executed. They lived as free moral agents exposing the evil of Hitler to hundreds of German citizens. In fact, their death bore an even more powerful witness to the truth. The Hempels refused to live the lie, and that refusal created a space for truth to thrive. The book (and movie) Every Man Dies Alone highlights their compelling story.

Waters continues:

The lie is an attempt to suppress the truth; the lie occurs, therefore, because the truth exists. Hence, a sense of falseness should always alert us to the suppression of something real. To live in the truth in the face of a powerful lie is not as risky as it may sound, for truth finds harmony with itself, and is unmistakable for anything but itself. The hidden sphere of truth is dangerous for the regime but an ally of the enslaved. To live within the truth is to create a subversion that can only grow and grow.

One simple truth is stronger than an army

Truth is self-authenticating. Lies allow people to hide. We have written about people suppressing the truth. Speaking truth endangers the enslavers and gives hope to the slaves. As Waters points out,

The truth does not require armies of its own, but finds its strength in the repressed longing for authenticity, for human life as it ought to be lived. This is the power of the powerless. “This power does not participate in any direct struggle for power; rather it makes its presence felt in the obscure arena of being itself.” And the hidden movement it gives rise to there can suddenly erupt as a political or social phenomenon. This is why the regime will always prosecute even the smallest gesture that occurs as an attempt to live within the truth. The crust of lies needs to be broken just once, in one place, for the whole thing to disintegrate.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn brought the USSR to its knees with the truth

Truth is more powerful than armies. From a dark Soviet prison, wielding only his pen against tanks and nuclear weapons, Alexander Solzhenitsyn brought to its knees the mighty USSR. Words of truth were his power. By speaking truth he exposed the lie and defeated Soviet barbarism.

Ecclesiastes speaks of a nameless but wise man who prevailed against the army of a great king.

There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. Ecclesiastes 9:14-16 ESV

Wisdom is better than might. The truth drives a wedge into the lie.

The truth sets us free

Finally, Waters reminds us that what matters is not the scale but the nature of the act. One poor man can bring down a mighty king. One imprisoned novelist can defeat the second mightiest country in the world.

The criterion is not the scale of the gesture, but its nature. The gesture can take the form of an artist pursuing the truth in his work, or a citizen intent upon preserving her human dignity in a clear and uncompromising fashion. Havel writes: “You simply straighten your backbone and live in greater dignity as an individual.” The elixir of truth overcomes the tissue of lies, which eventually disintegrates, and no one can say at what moment, or by what crucial intervention, the moment of disintegration will occur.

How do we respond when …a gay "wedding" is not truth

  • We are commanded to slay our conscience and embrace the lie that human sexuality means nothing? That marriage is a male-constructed prison to be abolished?
  • A homosexual friend asks us to make a cake or create flowers for their “wedding”?
  • The government mandates, under penalty of law, that a person must be called by their “preferred pronoun”?
  • A boy wants to shower in the girls’ shower room with our daughters?
  • As Christians we are told to choose “love” and abandon truth?

Shall we lay down our integrity and embrace the lie? Or shall we push back? Shall we choose to refuse? Both choices are acts of the will. By your will you decide to walk in truth, to say No to public pressure and government coercion: “You may imprison my body, but you will not enslave my mind and soul.”

One more story of courageous truth … from today

The last post in this series tells the gripping story of a junior-high teacher who, just this year, dared to speak truth in a classroom discussion on promiscuous sex and abortion and paid a heavy price. Let us, like her, be a generation of Christ followers willing to pay the price of refusing the postmodern ideology and agenda.

  • Darrow Miller



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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).