Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thinking It Through

      I'm really not crazy about it when someone lies to me. As a teacher, that was one of the most irritating things that I had to deal with.
      Like the time I caught a student with a cheat sheet as long as Santa's Christmas list, lying in her lap, mostly covered by a sweater.  When I took up both  the cheat sheet and her test, she looked at me with wide-eyed innocence and said, "I heard something rustling under my sweater but, honest, I  thought it was the potato chip bag that I bought at lunch..."  Seriously???
      Or the time that I saw a student put something in his pocket which I erroneously thought was candy.   Skittles to be exact - little sugar coated pellets that someone had been secretly throwing in my classroom during that particular class period.  I insisted the kid hand me what was in his pocket and he insisted that his pocket was empty. I persisted until finally he reluctantly emptied his "empty" pocket and out came a small plastic bag of weed.  I don't know who was more shocked - the kid who got "busted" or me!  As one of my other students told me later, "Well.. at least he didn't have candy..."  :)
      The problem with lying is that sooner or later, someone's going to look like a fool.  Either the person who believed the lie or the person who told the lie and then got caught - and sometimes both. And when someone looks you right in the face and with wide-eyed candor lies like a dog, as we say in the poetic South, it adds insult to injury.  As in:   you must think I'm stupid to tell me an idiotic whopper like that!
      I grew up, to some degree, with lies.  Like when my dad accidentally backed into someone else's car.  He thought no one saw him so he admonished us:  "Don't tell your mom; it will only upset her!"  I think what he should have told us was: the truth will find you out eventually so honesty is the best policy!"   As it turned out, dad's little car snafu happened in front of an apartment full of geriatric old ladies who had nothing better to do than spy out the window and one of these watchers took down dad's license plate number.  When mom got a phone call out of the blue from an insurance company, she wasn't a little upset... Ha!  She was hot enough to set the Thames on fire!!!  Really, looking back, I should have thanked dad for that object lesson about the value of honesty!  When the blistered paint finally fell from the ceiling of our living room - well, I might be exaggerating a tad - anyway, by the time it was over all three of us kids had a healthy respect for telling the truth and we all understood the  difference between "a little upset" and .. um..."ballistic".
      Since deceit was typical of my parent's relationship, you won't be surprised to learn that they eventually divorced.  That's the other thing about dealing in lies and deceit - it kills trust which is vital to any major relationship.  How many times have you heard someone say, "They've lied to me so many times, I don't know if I can trust a single word they say!"
      If you've read this blog more than once, by now you know that I consider my relationship with God the most important one that I have.  I'm pretty unapologetic about that:)    So... what if God were a liar?  Or what if He endorsed lies "for a good cause"?   Can I expect less of Him than I would from my parent, my spouse, my best friend, or my child?  Can I possibly believe that He has less intelligence and less integrity than a mere human being, like, say,  my dad who believed that a little lie for a "good cause" was okay? Or a few of  my teens in school who believed a lie was the best  way out of a dilemma?   Can I really believe that God can't see the end from the beginning, that He thinks the weed will never fall out of the pocket, the insurance company will never call and the fat will never hit the fan?
      My grandfather, W. W. Hammons, was an honest man.  He had integrity and everyone in his community knew it.
      These were his favorite verses in the Bible:
       "Let not your hearts be troubled.  "Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going."  
       Thomas said to him, "Lord,  we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?"  
       Jesus said to him,  "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my father also.  From now on you do know him and have seen him."
        John 14:1-7
        When I was 8 years old, I became a Christian.  When I was in college I began to study the Bible.
        I'm almost 60 years old and I haven't caught Him in a lie yet....
        "Let not your heart be troubled.  "Believe in God; believe also in me..."
        If you don't know Jesus but are willing to openly consider His claims, this could be the greatest Christmas you've ever had, bar none.  If you are tired of deceit, go to the book of John and prayerfully read it, asking God to show you the truth.
       He won't steer you wrong.

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