Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lying;The Truth be Known

"It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly smear on your own. (Luke 6:41)

"I'm concerned about Steve," says Aaron at the weekly prayer meeting. "We should pray for him." He spends the next half-hour explaining Steve's bad behavior. Occasionally, a stray sarcastic comment bleeds through.

Aaron explains that there were deeply hurtful interactions [with Steve]. At first, he was angry. But he's forgiven Steve, and now he's mostly concerned. Everyone buys his answer. After all, many of them have been hurt by Steve, and they can relate.

Aaron knows he's supposed to forgive, and he believes that if he's forgiven someone, he can't be mad anymore. So he must choose between thinking of himself as not having forgiven or as not being mad. He chooses the latter. But the anger still operates. It drives him to constant criticism and vindictiveness toward Steve.

So Aaron has re-cast his anger as "concern." Interestingly, his friends are slow to detect anger's covert operation. They're angry, too. Were they to recognize it in Aaron, though, their own game would be up. So they reinforce one another's pretense that it is "concern" that motivates the discussion, and they congratulate themselves for having done Steve a service by bringing his sad case before the Lord.
—Gregg Ten Elshof in I Told Me So

Prayer chains are perhaps the fastest and most effective form of transferring information ever conceived. In my community they have effectively shut down the Internet, the Gill-net and two old-boys networks. Gill is a retired farmer who hangs out at the coffee-shop.

Seriously our time is consumed with the gathering and garnering of trivial and useless information about people and this information only seeks as its reward the feeling that I am not so bad or to cover my own lies in relation to what others are doing. After all, what I do, when cast in the light of other atrocities becomes paler and paler by comparison.

Another issue is the sharing of unsubstantiated information, also known as rumour, gossip, hearsay, (I love this one) tittle-tattle. Ezekiel 7:26, "Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumour upon rumour. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; but the law will perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders." Maybe the mark of our lost spirituality lies with our desire for tittle-tattle and our inability to discern truth. Failure to deal with information of questionable accuracy coupled with avoidance of situations where garnering the truth may be confrontational  has developed a community of gossipers. It is so easy to accept a report from a party who has inside information or is a trusted source. The reward is acceptance, possibly the punishment is loss of vision, discretion and perception. After all perception is not truth and deception is a lie disguised in perception.

In this world of Face book and Twitter where personal and quite possibly too personal information is indiscriminately broadcast to masses of people an issue of propriety and purpose in information sharing has gone awry. There are boundaries of both modesty and decency that have been compromised. Although the blame lies predominantly with the 'innocent' sharing, and from that an errant belief that anyone perusing the entries is justified in the knowing and sharing, there still is no excuse for creating conflict and strife by 'misusing' shared knowledge. There is a 'sin' in the 'looking'. Knowing inflicts pain, sharing increases pain. Is it not enough that Jesus has perfect knowledge of all we say within ourselves?

There is perhaps a deception in perception that the complete heart of a man is mirrored in physical community and his real identity is constituted by every action and word, without any regard for mistakes and failures.  Everyone has some dirt on their clothes, maybe a skeleton or two in a closet somewhere, we are all human and suffer from the malignancy of indiscreet words and actions, 'so be it'. I live with mine and if you so choose, I will live with yours. Dragging my sins, your sins, past, present and future through the streets like a dog dragging a bone is purposeful only in affirming an errant personal opinion of you or I as judge.

In John 2: 24 it is said of Jesus "... He knew all men." At a time that was enough for the Christian community. They relied on the Spirit of God, the testimony of men and community to evaluate and 'judge' the worthiness of a man. Laying aside the opportunity for blatant facetiousness which no doubt existed and continues to exist, men trusted that what was revealed to them was 'all' that was needed and that God would expose any error. Acts 1: 24, "And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord," who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen ..." Yes, it is given that there was no question as too the moral integrity of these two individuals, that we know of, however, would not that lack of integrity have been muted at this point? God will be the only Judge of a man's character and life.

"Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others." —Fyodor Dostoevsky

We can believe, lie to ourselves, that knowing and sharing personal information serves to purify the Church, make our programs and activities more righteous, that this gleaning somehow makes our work more effective, that God will reward our efforts because we have been so diligent in discerning and discriminating.

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