Thursday, September 17, 2009

lying and truthfulness

A discussion on another blog some months ago got me thinking about what God thinks about lying. It has always puzzled me a bit that Rahab, the harlot, lied to the guards for the Hebrew spies, and this was counted to her as righteousness - indirectly i think.

Other examples come to mind of people throughout history, known for their integrity and often Christians, who we think must have lied. For example, the Quakers in colonial times who smuggled and hid escaped slaves and the people who hid Jews from the Nazis.

If a Nazi guard asked me if i knew of the location of any Jews, and i had 25 hiding in my attic, but i told the guard that i knew nothing, did God count that as sin?

Anyway, this got me looking. And so i asked my parents, who did a little research for me in their wonderful study books. And they found some interesting information. As you may know, the Hebrew language is very complex, so when the Hebrew text is translated to English, scholars have the difficult task of trying to transform very complex Hebrew words into the much more limited English language. And they end up using many different English words in different instances. So sometimes, knowing what all of those words are can help us understand the depth of the meaning of the Hebrew word.

Here is one definition (i'm sorry i don't know the source right now):

3584 כָּחַשׁ [kachash /kaw·khash/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 975; GK 3950; 22 occurrences; AV translates as “lie” five times, “submit” three times, “deny” three times, “fail” three times, “denied” twice, “belied” once, “deceive” once, “dissembled” once, “deal falsely” once, “liars” once, and “submitted” once. 1 to deceive, lie, fail, grow lean, be disappointing, be untrue, be insufficient, be found liars, belie, deny, dissemble, deal falsely. 1a (Qal) to become lean. 1b (Niphal) to cringe, feign obedience. 1c (Piel). 1c1 to deceive, deny falsely. 1c2 to act deceptively. 1c3 to cringe. 1c4 to disappoint, fail. 1d (Hithpael) to cringe, feign obedience.

A lot of these are to be expected, but a couple really threw me: to "be disappointing," to "be insufficient," to "feign obedience."

Being disappointing...there's a wide scope! To be insufficient....we're never sufficient! That's the whole reason we need Jesus. So what is God saying when He requires that we be not liars?

I have to remember that it's the combination of all of this that will bring me to some truth, and then i start to realize the theme: INTEGRITY. That's not the whole of it, of course, but it's a lot! A total scope of my life's fabric. To not be a liar is to be someone who is true, the whole person, who is made up of what is true, in word, in deed, in quality of workmanship, in desire. Sounds like perfection, doesn't it? Jesus actually told us to be "perfect." Here's another scripture that deserves some additional study to learn that "perfect," as it is used biblically, means "complete." Since we have all sinned and fall short of God's glory, but Jesus paid the debt for our sin, then we can know that we can be complete, perfect, true, because of Him.

Truth, then, is to be completely yielded to Jesus, to be transparent, and dependent, on Him, Who is, THE Truth.

That brings to mind one more thing. Corrie ten Boom, a woman whose family hid Jews from the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, relates that the secret hiding place was accessed through a trap door underneath the kitchen table. And one day, when the Gestapo came to their home, Corrie's sister told them (because she believed it was a sin to lie) that the people they were looking for were "under the table." But God saved them because the officers thought she must be a little crazy in the head, and they left without looking.

God has all kinds of ways of being sufficient for us when we do our best to honor Him and His word, and couple that with depending on Him for the outcome.

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