St. Augustine wrote in Augustine Confessions:
"Thus they hate the truth for the sake of that other thing which they love because they take it for truth. They love truth when it enlightens them, they hate truth when it accuses them. Because they do not wish to be deceived and do wish to deceive, they love truth when it reveals itself, and hate it when it reveals them."
We like genuineness when it suits or helps us, but not so much when it exposes us or shows our wrong motives or conduct. Perhaps that is why there is a Jewish parable that says, “Truth is heavy, so few men carry it.”
I heard a story on the radio recently of a policeman who was searching a man. As he went through his pockets he discovered several bags full of illegal drugs. Before he could say anything, the man gave him an exasperated look and said, “These aren’t my pants!”
Genesis 12:10-13—There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine in the land was severe. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ They will kill me but let you live. Please say you’re my sister so it will go well for me because of you, and my life will be spared on your account.”
The story of Abraham would make a great movie. Knowing how attractive his wife was and what the Egyptians were like, he was correct in being concerned. Pharaoh’s
Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, wrote a New York Times Bestseller entitled The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. I listened to Dan speak at a conference for senior leaders at West Point, NY and was fascinated by what he shared. He made a powerful case for how common cheating and lying is in our society and throughout the world.
In the Philippines it is culturally considered embarrassing to be asked a question and to not know the answer. So, if I am out driving and I ask a bystander for directions, I may get directions even if the person has no clue what the correct way is. Therefore, one must always beware of heeding advice and acting on it without getting a second or third opinion. Filipinos do not like to say “I don’t know.”
Have you ever made an exciting discovery? You go and share your new found information with those who should be interested and their response is unenthusiastic. Instead of them celebrating with you or wanting to learn more, you are met with disinterested head nodding. The test of whether someone really cares about what you care about is their genuine willingness to get involved.
A home improvement con artist swindled a 100 year-old blind woman. He rang the woman's bell, unsolicited, to offer to do any repair work needed. The woman told him that for years she had struggled with a door that was difficult to open because it rubbed against the rug. To fix the problem, she agreed to pay the man $8,000, to jack up her house.
If the weather is good, I love driving Bell Road! This five-mile curvy route affords a clear view of Mount Hood, the town of Newberg, forestland and beautiful farm country. But along Bell are two spots where I lose cell phone reception. If I’m engaged in conversation with someone, I have to keep driving until I can regain the signal before redialing.
Recently I needed to set up DSL over a phone line for a ministry I serve. When I called the phone company, (which will go unnamed), to set up the service, the line was answered by a voice-automated machine. The options I was presented did not help me so I repeatedly stated that I wanted to speak with an operator. Finally, the emotionless computer relented and patched me to a real voice. I set up the service thinking I would receive the special discount the company offered. But the price quoted to me was different and much higher. The salesperson explained that we would receive a substantial rebate, but in fact, we would over time lose much money because the contractual cost was too high.
“There is no sun,” the people cried. “Don’t talk to us about sun. Every day it is the same. We can see only so far in front, so far above and that’s the way it is. Life is a mist, soak it up. What we see is far more important than what we don’t see. What we believe is beyond us is of no consequence to what we experience. We do what we want to do and we want to be left alone. When we die we die and so it is better to live for whatever makes us happy.
David Sarasohn, a local writer, slammed President Bush for falsely portraying events in Iraq, in an editorial in The Oregonian. He mocked the President for ignoring the reality of life in Iraq as the media portrays it. Shame on the Commander-in-Chief for believing the direct eyewitness account of soldiers and statesmen instead of the six o’clock news! Because I am privy to inside information to a wide array of events in that land, I am increasingly dismayed by the biased and distorted view David and most of the media portray. It is bad journalism to daily report the number of casualties and castigate the Bush administration for every misstep while selectively ignoring every positive development that occurs in the rebuilding of Iraq’s broken infrastructure. If loss of life is truly the media’s concern, why don’t they tally and print the number of Americans killed each day in traffic accidents in the United States? If morality is so important as to fester for weeks over prisoner abuses, why is there no outrage over drunk drivers or the daily despotic practices of lawless terrorists? Could it be that deeper principles are at work? I’m convinced the media is not about reporting information it is about selling philosophy—truly bad news for everyone.
While browsing through a magazine at an X-ray clinic, an advertisement caught my eyes. The bold headlines proclaimed something to the effect of, “It is WRONG! . . . It is Nationally Televised”. The ad promoted some upcoming cable channel roast of Playboy magazine’s founder and owner, Hugh Hefner.
It was in part what the President wouldn’t say that disturbed a nation. Liberty lowered her torch and sat on her pedestal of stone weeping from the bitter blow his pride struck. She cried because he lied. She sobbed because he robbed—he stole the trust of a nation to enjoy forbidden pleasures. Tomorrow she will rise and light her torch. But it will not burn as bright. Around her base swirls water blackened with the slick oil of deceit. It’s mixture runs downstream leaching through soil at an alarming rate. Her children are poisoned by this hazardous waste of rationalization that dares to call evil good and good evil.
No one likes to be manipulated. An individual may express an outward message that is incongruent with an inner motive. Once I placed a large order of cassettes for a music project I was working on. The sales person assured me of the solid reputation of this “Christian” company. He did not tell me the company was deeply in debt and about to declare bankruptcy. His motive might have been to help the company pull in more business. Because he withheld information, I made a purchase decision which resulted in losing my money and not receiving the products I’d paid for.
Luke 23:44-46--It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last.