A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Friday, December 12, 2008

Are ALL Men Liars? All the Time?

It is true that everyone lies. It also not true that everyone lies. But "everyone lies" in the first sentence does not mean the same thing as "everyone lies" in the second sentence.

Psalm 116:
10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

Pr 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

Man's natural tendency is to deny, hide, misinterpret the truth. But it is emphatically NOT true that every man lies about everything all the time. If that were true, nothing could be accomplished in the world. Courts couldn't function, and everyday discourse between people would cease. Business would screech to a halt because no one could depend on contracts or assurances of performance.

There are many good and honest men who do not trade in lies and deceit. They would not lie in court, they do not lie to their wives and children, and they do not lie to Consistories or Spiritual Councils, and they certainly would not lie under oath.

This writer has had children in school who lied all the time. He has also had children in school who did not lie even when it might have been an advantage to lie.

To lie in court, Consistories, or Spiritual Council committees is not only a sin, it is a crime against the institution that is represented. In Court it is called perjury.

A person who would lie to a committee of the church, to a Spiritual Council, or to a Consistory has committed a crime against the church. Such a person suddenly doesn't become a liar in that situation; they are so hardened against the truth that they are lying all the time, so one more lie or two doesn't make any difference to them, no matter the seriousness of the proceedings. By their lie they show contempt for the institution, whether church or state.

I suspect this is one of the reasons that the Constitution of the Reformed Church in the United States lists "lying" as one of the offenses that especially merits discipline.

It is equally true that only the morally challenged would denigrate such an offense. Even Al Capone and Richard Nixon refused to allow their subordinates to lie to them. No organization can survive if everyone lies to everyone all the time. It may survive if all agree to lie as one; but eventually reality will break in, as it did to the old Soviet Union.

Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

We are not to be partakers of other men's sins. This means we are not to listen to liars, promote them, or defend them. It certainly means that we must not be tale-bearers, carrying their water for them.

There are many good people who bear faithful witness and hate the lying tongue. The Psalmist said in his haste, "All men are liars," but this was because of the terrible trial that he was going through. When men doubt God, they will think there is nothing and nobody true anywhere.

Such is not the truth. This poor preacher has found in the midst of terrible trials that there have always been those who saw and understood the truth. There are faithful witnesses who will tell the truth and not listen to lies and deceit. They are not swayed by emotion or prior prejudice. When the eye is single, the whole body is filled with light. Thank God for such people.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dancing to Your Own Tune: Piping and Weeping

"They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept." --Luke 7:32

You might say they were control freaks. They would decide whether there would be dancing or whether there would be weeping. Woe to those who danced when these children wanted to weep, or to those who wept when the children wanted to dance.

Jesus' illustration compared the reaction of that generation who condemned John the Baptist for not feasting and drinking, saying that he had a devil. Without blinking an eye, they then condemned Jesus for eating and drinking, calling Him a drunk and a glutton.

They had no fixed principles, but were like children, whose only desire was to control the game. They didn't care what the game was as long as they controlled it. Because neither Jesus nor John danced to their tune, they had to be destroyed.

King David put it another way. Instead of tyrannical children in the marketplace, he termed them "Sons of Belial." In his farewell song to Israel, David, speaking from long experience, said of them: "But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place." --2Sam. 3:6,7

In both cases, the children of Jesus' illustration and the rebellious in David's kingdom had one thing in common: they would not submit to Christ--for David was a type of Christ. They regard no rule but their own, following their own imagination.

There are times for weeping and there are times for dancing, but you and I do not decide the times. These are in the hands of God.

"Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD." Ezekiel 13:22, 23


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