Friday, December 30, 2011

Putting away lying

I flipped open my bible to Ephesians and began to read. It always amazes me that I can choose what I think is a random passage to read and God will illuminate and speak so clearly to me. I know it shouldn't surprise me by now, but it still evokes a sense of awe in me. As I read I came to Ephesians 4:25 " Therefore putting away lying, "Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. It really struck me so I stopped and began to ponder.

I have read this book of the Bible a thousand times, and have read this verse over and over, but two things struck me about it. Every other time I have read this verse I have really concentrated on the not lying to one another part. I really make every effort to tell the truth and not shade it or lie. When I realize that I have misrepresented something I am pretty quick to go back, admit what I have done and ask for forgiveness. My children used to really make fun of the fact that mom wouldn't even tell a white lie. I have gotten the attitude at times from people that this is a fault my refusal to tell any type of lie. I feel like it is what God wants me to do. I find sometimes that b/c I am so careful to tell the truth I also generally assume that people are sincerely telling me the truth. Then I am really surprised and hurt when I find out someone has lied to me.

Anyway, enough about that. What I had never really pondered was the last half of the verse. For we are members of one another. I know that the body of Christ is considered members of one another, but I didn't read don't lie to fellow believers b/c we are members of one another, it read don't lie to your neighbor. So I went on a search to see if anyone else had the same thought process that I had. Was this verse saying that we are all in fact members of one another?

I found a lot of reverences to the Body of Christ, but I did also find those that pointed to all of humanity being members of one another. We are, as humans, part of the same race of created beings. We all came from the same original set of parents: Adam and Eve. What we do and say to one another effects us all. So how does that effect how we should interact with everyone. We are told not to lie to anyone. Do we misrepresent? Do we exaggerate? Do we take advantage of people's trust? Do we excuse not being completely honest and transparent in our dealings with people outside of the church, justifying that they are not a part of the family of God? But aren't they they family of God? Isn't every human being created in the image of God? Whether they choose to glorify Him or not, each and every person is an image bearer. Is there ever a reason to deceive anyone? What if we made a point to be totally truthful at all time not matter the cost?

Then Romans 13:10 came to my mind. "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Deceiving anyone is harming them. If we are out for the good of everyone else, even over ourselves we have no need to lie or harm.

This lead me to the following list of verses about how to treat people:

Galatians 6:10

10 So then, (A)as we have opportunity, let us (B)do good to everyone, and especially to those who are (C)of the household of faith.

Proverbs 3:27

English Standard Version (ESV)

27 (A)Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,[a]
when it is in your power to do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:15

English Standard Version (ESV)

15 See that (A)no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always (B)seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

Romans 12:10

English Standard Version (ESV)

10 (A)Love one another with brotherly affection. (B)Outdo one another in showing honor.

Philippians 2:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

3 Do nothing from (A)selfish ambition or (B)conceit, but in (C)humility count others more significant than yourselves.

1 Peter 5:5-6

English Standard Version (ESV)

5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. (A)Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for (B)“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 4:9

English Standard Version (ESV)

9 (A)Show hospitality to one another without grumbling

Galatians 6:2

English Standard Version (ESV)

2 (A)Bear one another's burdens, and (B)so fulfill (C)the law of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

English Standard Version (ESV)

11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Ephesians 4:32

English Standard Version (ESV)

32 (A)Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, (B)forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Romans 12:16

English Standard Version (ESV)

16 (A)Live in harmony with one another. (B)Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[a] (C)Never be wise in your own sight.

John 13:34-35

English Standard Version (ESV)

34 (A)A new commandment (B)I give to you, (C)that you love one another: (D)just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 (E)By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I John 3:11

1 For (A)this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, (B)that we should love one another.

1 John 4:12

English Standard Version (ESV)

12 (A)No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and (B)his love is perfected in us.

1 Peter 4:8

English Standard Version (ESV)

8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since (A)love covers a multitude of sins.

I know that is a long list of scriptures. I guess the point I wanted to make is that we are to love everyone and put their needs above ours. We are to prefer them over ourselves and refuse to do any harm to anyone. That includes deceiving, gossiping, ignoring or looking down upon. Galatians says to do good to everyone and especially the household of faith, but lets not rush into the household of faith part ignoring the do good to EVERYONE. Just like we wouldn't intentionally harm our own bodies, since everyone is a member of everyone, we are to care for, bless, nourish, cherish and do no harm to anyone.

Very quickly the other things that stuck out to me was that the "Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor," in the verse is a quote b/c in the verse it is in parenthesis. So I went on a search for where is was being quoted from. I found it in Zechariah 8:16 "There are these things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgement for peace in your gates."

How much peace would there be internally and relationally if we simply always strive to tell the truth and do no harm to our neighbor no matter the cost to us or what we might have to let go of gaining for ourselves.

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