“But Mary treasured all theses things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
I like to think I am a thinker. A ponderer. A muser. Nowhere, on any scale, would I consider myself on par with resolute, professional thinkers. I have a dear friend whose eldest son has a PhD in thinking. Well, it is in Epistemology, Ethics, and Metaphysics (I think? LOL). But that is literally about thought and processing thought and ethics and the ultimate truths in the world. He could think me in circles! LOL! So do not expect that level, or even close, on this blog, or this post. That preamble being stated, I cannot stop thinking about truth. Well, the opposite, which is lying. Or untruth. And why is it so easy, simple, and reactive to lie our way through life? Where are we taught that lying is a good thing? How are we taught this? How have we come to think manipulating people through falsehood is an okay thing to do? The ends justify the means?
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Somehow, somewhere, someone dropped the ball. Our world is saturated with falsehoods and lies. The Evil One is having a field day. He is winning the hearts and minds of this world. And so very easily. The Lord needs us all to step up and teach truth and do not depart from it. Because I see all around me lies piled on top of lies.
Recently, my grandson lied to me. And he was caught and it was taken care of. He even apologized to me later on, without parental prompting. However, I cannot get over the fact that as such a young person, the lies came so easily. When I was about his age, I lied about how many bags of chips I had consumed prior to dinner. My mom had just bought them, so she knew how many there were (this was back when the little cellophane wrapped boxes of small bags of chips just came out; the early 60s.) and she knew I had lied. She told me to stay in my room until my dad got home. I always dreaded dad’s discipline. Not for violence of any kind. He talked me to death. LOL. He would philosophize us into comas with his speeches. We were too young to recall his words, or even truly understand them. Now this event was almost 60 years ago and I still remember it. Why? Dad took away my Barbie car and Barbie Dreamhouse. He put them up on a shelf in the garage, above the washer and dryer. I could look at them, see all that pink, but was not allowed to touch them. For lying. And I have never forgotten it. Ever.
The memory haunts me to this day. I recall standing in the garage, staring at them, so angry at my dad. But you know what? It was all on me. I was the one who had lied, and I was held accountable. The things I treasured most were taken from me. No compromise; no relief. I believe it was a 2-week sentence. And to a young girl, in her 7-8 year old range, it was horrific. And it was memorable. I think it was one of the single, most memorable lessons of my life – and it was all because I lied, snuck around, and deceived my parents – on purpose. I knew what I was doing. I went to great lengths to hide the extra bag I had consumed – in a neighbor’s trash can, no less! Devious little girl that I was!!! Ha! But my dad, in his warped wisdom, imposed a sentence that has lasted my entire life. And I have never purposely lied since. I may leave facts out of conversations, but I do not deliberately lie. Ever.
With our kids, we held truth to be immutable and of the highest importance. We always told our kids that telling the truth may still merit punishment for their “crimes,” but lying only made it that much worse. And for the most part, I think we have pretty honest kids. Trustworthy. “Their word is their bond” – “let’s shake on it “- sort of men. Perfect? Oh my word, no. Struggling in this crazy world? Yes; yes they are. Raising their own kids amongst this horror that is blatant deceitfulness.
“The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves.” Proverbs 13:5
So, crazy world, how do we combat lies? The annual debacle, otherwise known as the Super Bowl, was yesterday. The game was a snoozer for me, and the half-time show was pretty bad (Adam Levine – what were you thinking????), so that left the commercials. Some were great, others funny, most boring. And for so much money!! WOW! $5.2 million dollars was spent by the Washington Post. It was narrated by Tom Hanks, showing lots of murdered journalists, and lots of scenes where journalists were “on the spot” where things were happening. All this to convince us that they are sharing the truth with us. It was laughable. It was, moreover, a ridiculous amount of money for the media to convince us, the public, that they have our best interests at heart, and are sharing us the truth of the moment, of the world. One of their tag lines that infuriated me the most was, “Because knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free…” and the worst was last: “Democracy dies in darkness.”
“An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.” Proverbs 14:5
So the Washington Post, amid lay-offs and diminished benefits for its employees, spends $5.2 million dollars trying to convince us they are the harbingers of truth. The abject consumerism of the entire event was disgusting, but the pompous attitude shared in these commercials rankled. They had to spend all that money to convince me they bring me truth? Or that I need new insurance? Or a car? Or a beer without corn syrup? Nothing and no one touched on anything of social or political or historical importance. Oh, they were being over the top with their patriotism, trying to convince us the NFL are the good guys (uhm, we totally see through that). During half time, Adam Levine promised his truth warriors he would show them he supported them – and today, even they are rallying against him for his poor performance. Millions and millions of dollars later, where are we? Better off? More aligned with the truth? More apt to be good, honest people? I hardly think so. I spent most of the time playing Word Therapy and Angry Birds on my phone, or tickling my grandkids.
“What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, angels nor rulers, nor present nor things to come, nor powers nor heights nor depths, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast more proudly about my weaknesses, so Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
And so I am pondering truth, and the falsehoods which permeate almost all aspects of life these days. Am I some great philosopher? I am not. But I see so much in our culture and how it is trickling down to our most vulnerable – our children. In New York and other states, we can kill a child – up and to sometimes including after they are born. What is next? Life is literally hanging in the balance. Our Lord spoke of the evils of abortion and infanticide in the Scriptures.
“You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.” Deuteronomy 12:31
The thing I am getting to is that truth lies (no pun) within each of us. We are not supposed to cower in fear of the lies. We are not supposed to allow this evil to continue to permeate our world. We must stand up for what is right. Do we need to run for office? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Do we need to author bills to be added to our laws? Maybe, but perhaps reading and commenting on pending legislative acts would help usher in the reign of truth, instead of lies. Because if all of us who believe in the truth handed down to us stood and said no, then NY would not have the law they have and the Empire State Building would not have been lit in celebration of murder. But we have stood by and let it happen.
Maybe we need to take the basket off our lamp of truth and share it in the marketplace (See Matthew 5: 15-16) so others can be illuminated. Maybe someone needs their Barbie car taken away for them to see the value in truth. Truth is forever. It never changes. It never goes away, regardless of the hyperbole of the modern press. Truth is the value of humanity and our lives. Live in truth. Always.