Before giving testimony in court one places their right hand on a Bible, raises their left hand and swears to tell the TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH. Some one’s life and future depends on the TRUTH.
In everything we should speak the truth, without having to swear to it. I remember as a youth that we might say, “cross my heart and hope to die” or “honest to God” when wanting to verify the TRUTH of what we were saying.
I don’t recall anyone falling over dead back then, but I do remember hearing some whoppers. God is gracious and forgiving.
Again, we used to and still do, use excuses for the not necessarily accuracy of what we are saying.
We might say it’s ‘a little white lie’ or a half truth, where St.
James tells us, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” (Ja. 5:12) Again, we might say that we are just ‘stretching the truth.’ We might even add ‘a little bit’ to that assertion.
But a lie is a lie is a lie. It cannot be whitewashed with socially acceptable phrases. A lie is a sin.
So, why the too often and easy inclination/urge to ‘stretch the truth, a little, that is to lie?
Jesus informed us (JN 8) that the devil/satan “is a liar and the father of lies” vs 44. In our current culture as well as always in the past, satan is at work in our midst, always!
He is currently and always in the past the fulfiller of Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” The devil/satan is at the heart of that, the father of lies working hard, constantly to make sin looks acceptable.
Contrary to that St. Paul urges us in Ephesians 4, “…speaking the TRUTH in love…” reminiscent of Proverbs 12:17, “Whoever speaks the TRUTH gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.”
Maybe, sometimes, satan plays on our emotions and convinces us that it would
be better for someone, easier on their feelings, etc … if we would just bend the truth a little, or not tell the exact/whole truth, that is to lie, to sin against that person, and we justify it by adding, ‘for their own good.’ Remember, please, the saying, ‘A half truth is a whole lie!’
So, what can we do then when the devil brings about ‘the urge’ in us, that urge to exaggerate, to bend or withhold the truth, to tell a whopper…?
The aforementioned St. James (4:7) says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you!”
But, as sinners we find that difficult. We cry out for help. Yes, cry out for help. It’s called ‘prayer.’ Resisting the devil isn’t easy, but there is help. Our communities are replete with churches, fuel, food, and ammunition to ‘resist the devil’.
Rev. M. J. Nicolaus, Ph. D., is the vacancy Pastor, Concordia Lutheran Church, Williston.