Sunday, December 18, 2016
Stretching the Truth to Get What You Want
Luke 23:2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.”
An entire assembly of people gathered to speak up against Jesus to the Roman authorities. The problem was that he hadn’t really done anything wrong — at least not in the eyes of the government. The Roman officials wouldn’t be interested in hearing about the religious debates among the Jews so they had to stretch the truth. They had to make it sound like Jesus was out to undermine the authority of the Roman government. They did stretch the truth on the first count because Jesus had not forbidden the people to pay taxes. On the contrary, he had told them to give to Rome what belonged to Rome. So they had engaged in an outright lie. On the second count, they stretched the truth because Jesus did come as the Messiah, but not as an earthly king to overthrow the political system of the day. They used his own words and twisted them into a false truth to try and get what they wanted.
We are all probably guilty of taking scenarios and twisting them to get the outcome that we want. We can twist and stretch the truth until it reaches a breaking point and simply will not match up with reality. The sad part is that along the way all kinds of damage can be done. Think about what happened to Jesus; he was mocked, and eventually crucified. The people let him suffer the consequences of things that he had not done.
When we stretch the truth for our own personal benefit, someone else will be hurt. One wonders what was so important to the Jews that it was worth crucifying Jesus? Were their own egos at stake and did that mean that they would go to any extreme to save themselves? Maybe so, but in reality when they thought they were saving themselves, they were missing out on true salvation. When we stretch the truth to try and save ourselves we will actually be putting ourselves in a more difficult situation, one that could lead to our own personal ruin. Stretching the truth is never worth it in the long run.
Getting to know the author of truth — Jesus, is always worth it. And since Jesus is Truth, it’s best to stick to the reality of who he is. Walking and journeying with Jesus leads us to a life of truth. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it will brings us healing. Confronting the reality of a situation may not be pleasant at the time, but it will be helpful and healing in the long run. Trying to get what we want is also a problem. Learning to live with what the Lord wants for us is the way to go. When we are content with what he has for us, we don’t have to stretch the truth, because we won’t be wanting to get what we want anyway.
There is no place for lying or stretching the truth in the life of a believer. Follow the one who is Truth, and allow him to satisfy our deepest longings.
Lord, please help me to live in your truth. Amen.