Listening to the news often gives one a number of things to ponder. We’ve been hearing a lot about investigations taking place in Washington. One of the lawyers in the national level corruption case said that the defendant had not been given a warning that it was a felony to lie to an FBI investigator taking his statement. Really? A warning not to lie? I was under the impression that Moses had given that warning 3500 years ago. “Thou shall not bear false witness.” The term fake news has been coined today. That is simply media lying. I know I am idealistic, and would like to think that everyone knows that “truth is the best policy”. But honestly, when you hear a statement from someone in authority saying that one needs a warning the lying is wrong we are in sad shape. But then we are in sad shape. It is called sin. Whether we like the word or not it is the corruption that infects every one of us. And that is the reason God came among us in Jesus, the Redeemer.
I really hate a lie for any reason. I know people come up with many plausible reason to tell a lie, but I don’t think it’s necessary. It seems that lying becomes a way of life in our fallen world. We hear about fake news, statistics are used to create false impressions, half truths and outright lies seems to be the way politics must operated. Even personally they become the way to save face, get out of awkward situation, and avoid responsibility. I’m afraid the Eighth Commandment to not bear a false witness takes a real beating. But lies are a way of hiding, and when one is hiding there is fear of being exposed. That is not the way our Lord wants for us. The Apostle John wrote,”Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”(3:20-21) It should be our rule to “live by the truth”.
I don’t know how engaged you are in the political process. We all need to be to some degree because some of the people causing all of the present ruckus will be our national leaders for good or ill. I once asked a friend of mine who was interested in the possibility of a political office, “is it possible to be in politics and be absolutely truthful?” I don’t remember if I got an answer or not. Personally I don’t believe that it is possible within the current system we’ve allowed to come into being. Falsehood seems to be necessary for self-promotion, or to achieve a perceived good end. The latest Time magazine has a sidebar ranking countries from the least to the most corrupt. The U.S. is ranked 16th in the list. Not as bad as many, but certainly not great. This morning Ben Carson is accusing Ted Cruz of foul play in Iowa. What is it about us that we think we have to play loose with the truth in order to look better or achieve some purpose? I don’t even like a fib to get someone to a surprise party. We really don’t like the part of our liturgical confession where we say “I am by nature sinful and unclean”, but that’s exactly where it is. And the only solution is forgiveness and cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ. We can think of many supposed exceptions, a falsehood to avoid hurting someone, etc. But there is always a better answer, and greater wisdom in the One who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”(John 14:6)