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Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil.



A farmer near Comber, Co. Down, (Northern Ireland) has shocked the media and press by telling the truth. Martin Hamilton’s farm effluent, ‘waste water’ overflowed yesterday, Thursday, 22nd August 2913, and polluted the Enler River. The result of this pollution was significant fish deaths, including stocks of brown and sea trout, eels, flatfish and smaller species. The ‘waste water’ did not contain chemicals, but sufficient organic waste to deprive the river, and the fish, of oxygen. Fisheries conservation groups and the authorities were alerted to the pollution and Mr Hamilton’s farm identified as the source.


The Enler River, Comber.

Mr Hamilton was later interviewed by a local news reporter for the BBC, and he explained to the reporter that the spillage was due to work being carried out by a third party contractor, and that if he had been aware that it had happened he would have acted earlier to prevent the water reaching the river.

The reporter then asked, “Were you negligent?” To the reporters surprise Mr Hamilton replied, “Yes we were.” He went on to apologise to all who were affected by the kill, including the local angler’s club, and promised that he would repair and make good any damage caused.

What a contrast to the answers that are usually given in radio news interviews, particularly by politicians, who when asked a straightforward question will dissemble, spin, obfuscate, and go through hoops not to answer. And what a refreshing difference from commonly held postmodern attitudes to truth, where there is no absolute truth, where each person has his own ‘truth’ and no-one does anything intrinsically ‘wrong’ since ‘right and wrong’ are unrecognised concepts. In stark contrast, Mr Hamilton’s strict honesty is an example to us all.

From a Christian perspective, we should always be honest, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because without honest confession of sins there can be no repentance, and hence, no forgiveness.

St. John puts it like this,

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:8-10

Mr Hamilton’s honesty has certainly had a major impact on the local press. Hardened to political spin to the point of cynicism, they are stunned by simple honesty. So much so that today the local media’s headlines and stories are not centred on the pollution of a river, but on the fact that when asked a simple question, a man told the truth!

As my granny used to say, ‘Tell the truth and shame the devil!’

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