Such situations are not the norm, lies are not usually spoken for noble causes. Almost all are born from moral failure, looking for our own benefits. Jesus called the devil: “the father of lies”, and John implied that anyone who lies is born of the devil. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:2), said the psalmist. Let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No.” (Matt. 5:37) – be a man of your word, said Jesus, for anything more than this is from the evil one.
Eight hundred thousand car owners in Europe might wish Volkswagen had followed that dictum, in what’s being labelled the diesel dupe of the decade. Lies are to man, what their duping software is to Volkswagen: a defeat device. An inner program that kicks in when tested, beating scrutiny, but which results in huge levels of atmospheric contaminants bringing disease, and shortening life spans. A defeat of morality. Our lies are poison, our human environment toxic as most of us pollute it even further. A defeat device.
We were born in this way, or so claims David, looking back on a lifetime of lies and deceit: “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). Caught red-handed in adultery, murder, manipulation and deceit, this king saw the track he was always on, the sad story of an entire world, save for one.
“You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51.6). Truth is not just a concept, a moral ethic, a behavioural formula that makes us “good”. Truth is a Person: Jesus said, “I am the Truth” (John 14.6), and to invite Him in is to be “washed thoroughly from our iniquity cleansed from our sin” (Psalm 51:2). Truth is not spoken, it is done, and “whoever does the truth, comes to the light” (John 3.21). “Everyone who is of the truth hears His voice” (John 18.37), and “when we know the truth, we shall be set free” (John 8.32). Liberated.
New Year’s resolutions, so easily discarded by most, are packaged badly. And when packaged badly, they end up in a lie. Why do we wait for that special day to make a resolution? Take any resolution, either to do good, or to stop something harmful. If it’s right to do, don’t wait, act on it now. If it’s wrong, give it a kick out of your life- now. Wait at your own risk, but prove Oscar Wilde right when he said, “here is a fatality about good resolutions – they are always made too late!” If the week after Diwali causes fatal levels of pollution to the atmosphere, could it be that the week following the New Year is the most morally polluted with literally billions around the globe living in denial, making resolutions they never plan to keep? A fine way to begin the year.
The writer to the Hebrews said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb. 3:15). “Now is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). If we have resolved to do something before God, let’s do it today. I guess tomorrow can take care of itself. Resolutions are meant to lead to action, vows made are meant to be carried out. Today. Waiting never helps.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Let my first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day: I shall not fear anyone on earth, I shall fear only God.”
And liberate a nation.
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