February 7, 2013
(Jesus said) "Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth." John 17:17
Sir Walter Scott said it: "Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive." The idea that one lie leads to another, and to another after that, has been seen in countless lives and innumerable situations.
Still, it appears Sir Scott didn't go far enough.
That is the case of a Chinese study that centered around how easily, readily and proficiently humans lie. Indeed, if the story is accurate, the poet might have added another line, which might read something like, "Guiltless lies become the norm, when we strive to misinform."
The scholars, whose work results were published in the journal, Frontiers in Cognitive Science, found that, with a little practice, people can become efficient and proficient in their deceptions. By doing a little homework, the falsehoods they told were presented with increasing ease, even as the ability to distinguish between truth and fiction became gradually more blurred and confusing.
And if the untruth-tellers had convinced themselves their deceptions were for a good purpose, well, the sky was the limit, for the ease with which those lies were told.
Now I guess we Christians shouldn't be all that surprised.
Having seen Eve twist God's commandment concerning the tree of good and evil, we know verbal deceptions have been around almost since the beginning of human history. Read through Scripture and you will see just how often lies are used to justify our wrongdoing and promote a false sense of self-righteousness.
Perhaps, that explains why Jesus in His high-priestly prayer asked His Father to recycle, restore and renew us by injecting us with an effective dose of truth: the divine, heaven-sent truth of God's Holy Word.
In God's Word we find we are all first-class sinners, sinners who are proficient in thought, word and deed wrongdoing. Unable to modify our faults, flaws and failings, we need the forgiveness and salvation, which Jesus has won for us. When we are washed in His blood, the old lies are gone and it is possible for the Lord to start us on a new life: a life in Christ, a life with God's truth and, prayerfully -- hopefully -- a life without lies.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, all of us are liars. We like to make ourselves look good and gladly do so, even if it means we bend and break the truth. Today we ask for the ability to leave our lies and embrace the truth of Your Gospel. Grant us the grace to substitute Your truth for our falsehoods. This we ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries