Monday, 28 February 2011

Personal Object Lessons - Lying

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Ex 20 v 16

This Bible verse is about sociology.

Lying signifies a breakdown in a relationship. Speaking things which are not true is about breaching the circle of society; it is about the relationship of trust being destroyed. When we lie we damage the inter-responsibility that people have towards each other. I think the same is true when we keep silent about injustice against innocent people: this includes ourselves. Too often we fall back on the words of Cain to absolve ourselves from any guilt, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Gen 4 v 9. Suddenly it is somebody else’s problem, not ours.

However we choose to look at any given situation we do have some responsibility for each other. God has created the human intellect and He knows that we will learn and discover new things about ourselves and the world. The facts that we learn may be uncomfortable but they are still facts. When faced with new discoveries – about ourselves or others – many people choose to present these facts in a different way; they choose to lie. When Cain killed Abel he knew that he had sinned because God had told him “if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Gen 4 v 7

Quite clearly it is our individual responsibility to do well, to speak the truth. Lies create more divisions in relationships and break down unity. When we do not have unity we fear the judgement of others. Our individual position as a valuable member of society is no longer assured because we all know that not all manifestations of witnesses will be true ones.

In courts of law there is a requirement to swear or attest that all evidence will be the whole truth. Regardless of this obligation there are still instances where people have been known to be false witnesses. These are actions that will cause injury to others; this may be physical, psychological or social injury. It is all about corrupting the truth to misrepresent, depreciate, and destroy the character and life of others. Lying always hurts somebody.

We are admonished in Luke 6 v 31 “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” And also in Matt 7 v 12 we have the instruction: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” The reverse is also true: we need to treat ourselves with the same high regard that we should treat others.

Therefore we should not lie about ourselves either.

The repression of truth is lying and it too often leads to injury to oneself and others. We are repeatedly cautioned to be a faithful witness. Solomon, in Proverbs 14 v 5 states “A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.”

In Revelation 21 v 8 we are told that “... all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” I’m quite certain that there will not be any liars in heaven. It is up to us, individually, to know the truth and be a true witness to it.

Sociology is a study of how we experience life and how society is organised. It is my belief that if each person refuses to lie firstly to themselves and then to others, that we will have a much better and healthier society. It is my belief that God wants us to care and respect ourselves and also to extend those same attributes of kindness to everyone we meet. Lying is not about taking care of anybody. Lying is always destructive. The truth is healing.

©MHMorgan 2011

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Personal Object Lessons - Knocking

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Rev 3 v 20

There is a famous Holman Hunt picture called ‘The Light of the World’ that provides an image to go with this verse. Even without the picture we can imagine the scene: there is Jesus, just standing at the door. Jesus, who can do anything and go anywhere at any time, is standing at the door to my life and waiting. Jesus waits for permission to enter MY life.

Sometimes people can force their way into our lives. They situate themselves into our daily routine before we have a chance to know what is going on around us. Jesus is not like that. With all the power of the universe at His disposal Jesus does not create a situation of forced entry. This is not a heavy booted militia exercise with the beating or kicking down of the entrance door. No, this is just Jesus, alone, standing outside of my life and waiting.

As Jesus waits He knocks on the door. Then He calls ... gently. He does not shout out with thunderous noise. He stands there and waits for me to hear His voice, then I will have a choice if I want to open the door. One of the most interesting facts that I remember about this verse - and the Holman Hunt picture - is that the door does not have a handle on the outside. This door, to my life, can only be opened when I decide to unlock it and let Jesus in. Then, and only then, will He come into my life and share with me. It is always my decision and in my time. Sometimes it seems incredulous that the Master of the universe would commit to and patiently settle on a period of waiting - just for me. The fact is that Jesus’ position is firmly established, He has made a covenant to wait for me and He will never fail to tap gently to get my attention. All I have to do is to hear Him, agree to His request and let Him.

The process of allowing Jesus into our lives follows a simple procedure: He knocks, He stands and waits, we open the door, He enters and then He shares – first a meal, and then eternity, with us.

Sharing food has long been symbolic of coming together, of having an agreement and being in fellowship. This verse makes it clear that the process goes both ways as Jesus states, “and [I] will sup with him, and he with me.” When Jesus says that he will partake in the principal meal, the feast of the day, with the person that opens the door to Him, He is saying that He will be a part of the major celebrations of our future. In Jewish times it was common to compare the feast with the delights of future life. This meal is significant because it is the promise of being able to share all our experiences with Jesus, and also being able to share in all His experiences – like eternal life.

All we have to do is to answer the knock at the door and let Him in.

©MHMorgan 2011

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