Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Lie: Its Usefulness and its Cost

We resent laws and restrictions. They get in our way. Consequently, many understandably resented the orders to evacuate their homes prior to Sandy’s uninvited visit, and stayed put. However, many had to pay a price for their choice.

Many also resent the teachings of Scripture as an unwanted intrusion. We cringe with contempt when we hear about God’s judgment for sin. For instance, we have found that lying is a useful tool to achieve our ends, but it’s also something of which God disapproves:

  • You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors. (Psalm 5:6)
“How intolerant and judgmental,” we conclude! However, there is strong evidence that when we rebel against God’s Word, we are actually rebelling against ourselves – our own nature and well-being:

  • Being truthful can enhance your well-being, according to a new study from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Researchers found that those who told fewer lies during a 10-week period reported fewer mental health and physical complaints, like anxiety and back pain, and better social interactions. (AARP The Magazine, October/November 2012)
From this perspective, God should not be regarded as a cosmic-kill-joy, but a concerned parent who wants the best for us, even when it messes up our plans. Consequently, He issues teachings, doctrines and laws to regulate our behavior – even our words and thoughts – for our own good.

Perhaps more often than not, He doesn’t even need to directly punish us. We punish ourselves through our stubborn choices, as so many verses indicate:

  • Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:29-32)
The Creator needs not lift a finger against us. We will punish ourselves, because we have hardened our hearts against His counsel. Meanwhile, He continues to make His appeal:

  • Wisdom [God] calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20-22)
Interestingly, what is moral is also what is beneficial, at least in the long run. Why? Is this all part of a grand design?

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