December 4th, '18
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message by Kris Jackson
there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him
say..." (Mark 14:57,58)
"Thou shalt not bear false witness" (Exodus
20:16). That is one of the ten big ones that we knew from childhood and it kept
us back then from lots of spankings and today from perjuring ourselves in a
court of law. A basic code of honesty is what has kept America
from self-destructing all these years. But it is getting harder all the time to
trust. "Don't talk to strangers" is one of the first axioms a child learns when
he first understands English and the suspicion is only magnified through
experience on into adulthood. So now we have to erect fences around our yards
and put locks on everything. Truth is the critical need in ministry. "He that
speaks truth shows forth righteousness; but a false witness deceit" (Proverbs
12:17). There is another axiom we learned as children, "Practice what you
preach", so I approach this subject with head bowed.
Our text indicates that one doesn't have to be
a bold-faced liar to be a false witness. He may just be someone with his facts
not straight or someone who has misinterpreted something that actually is true.
The witnesses standing before the high priest in Mark 14 likely had malignant
intentions. What they had to say should have been left unsaid. But what they
said was "basically" correct. They heard Jesus speak, "I will destroy this
temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made
without hands", or something like that. It was close. They had the three days
part right and the words "build" and "temple" sort of right. The exact quote
was, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19).
But these guys didn't bother with spell-check. Instead they had their moment in
the courtroom which was their moment in the sun. I don't know whether they
published a book about it or not. Everyone does so nowadays.
One more axiom, they say "close enough" is good
enough for government work. Not so on the witness stand. True, you can state
the "spirit" of a conversation without a word-for-word recitation. We do that
with scripture all the time and it doesn't injure the integrity of the text.
But conveniently omitting a small detail or adding something that is opinion,
not fact, becomes a violation of this ninth Commandment even if unintended.
Did you know we each in a way are responsible
for other men's consciences? Paul wrote, "...by manifestation of the truth,
commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2
Corinthians 4:2). Half-truths, mistruths, untruths, pseudo-truths, all can
distort the correct thinking of the other person. So we must aim for accuracy.
The first part of that verse says, "But we have renounced the hidden things of
dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God
deceitfully..." There is no room for misrepresentation. "Thou that preachest a
man should not steal, dost thou steal?" (Romans 2:21) Self is quick to justify,
"I would never..." but then we realize that half-truths and little white lies are
actually thieves for they steal men of the right to fairness. Everyone deserves
the basic human dignity to be shot square with, a right to not be made a fool
of. That law is broken every day in the business world. God forgive us,
especially preachers, myself included, when that law is broken in the church.
In the courtroom the night of Jesus' betrayal false witnesses, pseudo
marturos, claimed that they "heard him say". Things would have ended
differently had they gotten their facts straight.