Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 1st- Not Lying

(Lucas Cranach art)

4/1- Ninth Commandment
20 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Calvin: since God (who is truth) abhors a lie, we must practice truth without deceit toward one another. To sum up, then: let us not malign anyone with slanders or false charges, nor harm his substance by falsehood, in short, injure him by unbridled evilspeaking and impudence. To this prohibition the command is linked that we should faithfully help everyone as much as we can in affirming the truth, in order to protect the integrity of his name and possessions.

Here we are talking about not lying on "April Fools" Day. In our house we always play a joke, and sometimes a temporary untruth. It really makes the person who was told the untruth angry, and it usually is designed to do so. It perfectly illustrates the need to not lie to people.
There was a movie that came out in March called “Duplicity.” The trailer had Julia Roberts coming on saying that being a double agent, deceiving others was “kinda sexy.” Sexy in what sense? Is it appealing to cheat and deceive? If that is our definition of “sexy” and sex is our new god (just look at all the Viagra commercials), then we are in a lot of trouble. I wish our society could be as enthralled with being people of integrity and honesty as we are at deceiving others. Maybe the rate of adultery and family break-up would decrease! In order to love honesty and integrity more than deception and evil, we need a higher motivation. That motivation could be love for God. If we want to please God above pleasing our own sex drive, then we will be a better society. Part of loving our neighbor is being honest with him or her.
The other part of this commandment that is important for us is that we should watch what we say. Speaking evil or wrong or slanderously toward others is a bad testimony too. The news and political commentators do that for a living, and we can also get caught up in it. I have heard people speak terrible things about Obama, and also have heard others speak terrible things about Rush Limbaugh (and they have said terrible things about each other). Such comments, cloaked in the guise of trying to uphold what is best for our country, may attract attention, but it is not healthy for our society. I was embarrassed that some politicians did not rally more behind our troops in Iraq. I am embarrassed that now other politicians aren’t working together in a real economic crisis. But it is too easy to criticize tv, radio, and political personalities. In the end, we are responsible for our own actions. Let us resolve not to slander, be overly-critical, or lie about others. Let us not try to make ourselves look better than we really are in fact. Let us not cover up but fess up- humbly before God- even on April Fool's Day.

Prayer: God of truth, inspire us to speak the truth, to speak it in love.

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