Baring False Witness

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From the website Liespotting.com:

Humans are lied to as many as 200 times a day.
Social psychologist Jerald Jellison of the University of Southern California published this figure in his 1977 book, “I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Mean To, and Other Lies We Love To Tell.” The hard-to-believe figure, which of course includes the many innocent “white lies” we hear each day, was given further credence in a 2002 study by Robert Feldman of the University of Massachusetts, who found that on average, people told two to three lies in a ten-minute conversation.

In short — We’re being lied to.  How does that make you feel?

How many bold face lies come at me in a day?  Maybe I don’t want to know.

Keep in mind, a lot of those lies are to avoid embarrassment, to protect secrets, and to gloss over unpleasantness.

I’m okay with those.

It’s the other ones that make me furious.

If I find out someone has been hurtfully and deceitfully dishonest to my face, I’m apt to push them out of my life.

At least until I cool off.  And am apologized to.

“Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”  It’s a pretty serious commandment when you think about it.

How can we build a society if we don’t have some degree of honesty in place?

How can we build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?

Shame, shame, shame.

Ahem.  Um.  Can I be honest?

I’ve told some doozies in my day.

I’ll stop if you stop.

Not the little white ones.  I think we need those.

Oh, and that line above where I said I’d stop if you stop?

My fingers were crossed.

But seriously, folks.

Lying is a hard habit to break.

Honesty is a spiritual discipline, and we need help.

What we need is the Spirit’s help.

The Spirit of Grace…

and Truth,

to help us at baring our false witnesses,

and clothing us with righteousness.

So be it.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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4 lies I’ve told from the pulpit

When it comes to lying from the pulpit, I’ve heard some doozies.

I’m happy to say I’ve avoided most of the big ones, but I must confess I’ve told a few of my own.

Here are the four I could think of (or am willing to own up to):

Lie #1: “THIS is what it’s all about!”

This has to be my most common lie from the pulpit. Whatever I’m preaching on that Sunday, that becomes the most important aspect of Christianity.

“Stewardship is what it’s all about!”

“Small groups are what it’s all about!”

“Worship is what it’s all about!”

The Truth: I don’t know what’s most important. Love? Jesus? The Kingdom of God? Discipleship? It all seems really important to me.

The Verdict: It’s all connected, all related, and all… important. So I’ll probably keep telling this weekly white lie.

Lie #2. “So-and-so from the Bible was just like us.”

An easy way to make a sermon come alive is to point out how much we have in common with the characters in the Bible story.

”Moses was on a journey to the promised land, just like us.”

”Paul saw the light, just like us.”

”Martha learned to not be so busy all the time, just like us.”

The Truth: Moses had a difficult life filled with more conflict than we’ll ever see. Paul wrestled with his faith far more vigorously than most of us ever will. And Martha? She’s gotten 2000 years of grief because she lost her cool at a dinner party!

The Verdict: Yes, there’s a bunch we have in common with Bible folks. We can learn a lot from that. But their world was not just like ours. It was very different. We can learn a lot from acknowledging that, too.

Lie #3. “I’m really happy to be here today.”

I just have to come clean on this one.

On Sundays I’ll stand up front, flash a great big smile and welcome everyone to worship. And say “I’m glad to be here with you today.”

The Truth: Sometimes, I’m not. I know! Sacrilege! The truth is, some Sundays I have a headache, or 3 baptisms, or a sermon that doesn’t ha

ve an ending yet. Remember, I’m not just worshipping, I’m working.

The Verdict: I’m almost always happy to be at church. But on those rare days when I’d rather be at home in my pajamas, my hope is that you’ll never know. I’m gonna lie. It’s my job.

Lie #4. “Together, we can change the world.”

This one’s tough, because when I say it, I’m not just lying to the congregation. I’m lying to myself.

”If you invite your neighbors and co-workers, together we’ll change the world”

”We are the Church. You and me. Let’s go out there and change the world.”

You get the idea.

The Truth: We probably won’t. Didn’t Jesus say, “The poor you will have with you always”? It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight poverty and injustice. It means real, lasting change in this world is a rare thing.

The Verdict: The world has already changed because of Jesus Christ. Sometimes we make big changes, sometimes we just get by. Always we’re asked to be faitfhul. It doesn’t sound as glamorous, perhaps, but it’s more truthful.

Whew. It feels good to get those off my chest.

I’ll keep them in mind the next time I preach from the pulpit.

Okay, The Truth?


I haven’t preached from a pulpit in years.

Have a great week,

Mitch