Day 40 The Lock-Down. Bringing Hope to Confined Circumstance

Day 40 The Lock-Down. Bringing Hope to Confined Circumstance

“Tell it to me Straight!”

John Steinbeck does not need my praise to establish his place in literary history. Titles such as Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Of Mice and Men had cemented his fame long before I was born. Of the few Steinbeck books I have read, Tortilla Flat was the one I enjoyed most. Steinbeck’s story follows the antics of the Monterey’s resident winos. His ability to juxtapose their camaraderie with their utter selfishness, is masterful. You had to wonder if the effort those men put into ‘bumming off’ each other was put into meaningful pursuits, how far they may have gone in life. But work was the last thing on their minds. Petty lies and deception took on new shades of meaning as the story unfolded.

Today, if you can claim that you have never been lied to, then you have lived the most sheltered, and the most enviable, of existences. Lies pile up around us like snow in Canada. Even Steinbeck’s characters would be amazed at the blatant untruths passing as ‘news’ 85 years later. Though, nothing is really new. After all, the ‘prince of this world’ (John 14:30) was active even before Adam and Eve relocated ‘east of Eden’ (Genesis 3:24). The pronouncement that ‘all liars’ are grouped with people described as “cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, immoral, sorcerers and idolaters” destined for hell (Revelation 21:8), doesn’t seem to rate as a deterrent at all. Even Paul’s command to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15), has conformed to a twenty-first century narrative. Paul would be horrified to know that his exhortation has lost his equal emphasis on Christ-centred Truth and Love, to mean that any truth spoken must conform to the hearers definitions of both ‘truth and ‘love’—lest their sensibilities be offended.

I am the last one to welcome truth presented in deliberate rudeness, but it is always counterproductive when our starting point is automatically set to ‘feelings over truth.’ The truth is, we may not demand accountability for our words, but God does (Matthew 12:37). The good news is that ‘the truth will make you free’ (John 8:32). That freedom comes: “If we confess our sins [including all our lies-in all their forms], He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). This means that we will not face God in judgement with those ‘careless words’ (Matthew 12:36-37). Praise God, He is faithful! But, if we want to kid ourselves, we implicate God in our lies. He makes it very clear: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” I’m glad He told it to us straight, aren’t you?


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