I was thinking last night about the term 'bear false witness'. It is listed as one of the 10 commandments that this is an behavior that Israel was not to participate in. In the new testament the command is reiterated in three of the four Gospels and then also in the book of Romans.
We quickly see when looking at this phrase that there is something deeper here than the lie itself. There is the accountability of the communicator, the shoddy quality of the communication itself and the motive of the one 'bearing' the communication all presented in that little phrase.
Each of us is an eyewitness to our own lives. We see and then we teach others what we see. We give a report. Our perception is shaped by many factors so our reports can vary so wildly from one another based on those factors and biases.
People see things and say things all the time. Our perception is limited and our communication is also. Our communication is intertwined with our desires... pure ones and other more faulty broken ones get in the mix.
'Happy New Year!', people said last night to friends and strangers. Perhaps they smiled and made noise but inside there was no lasting smile. They communicated hope but woke up with a hangover. The inside didn't match the outside.
Where is the true witness? Where is the one whose inside matches his outside and that is a witness of the reality of the world and hits the target every time in their report of it? Isn't that God?
I see the room around me and my limited circle and see the clock turn over and from my little corner I say, 'Happy New Year' hoping it will be just that. I want to have a happy year... I want the people I love to have one... the people who had a less than happy year behind them to have a better year in front of them... I want the world to be a better place in the coming year. I have reservation about that happening but I have personal hopes also.
What is my 'witness' or more importantly what is God's witness? Can they line up?
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 2:5 KJV
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." - Philippians 4:8-9 KJV
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." - Colossians 3:16 KJV
What I see is what I will report. It is what I will teach to others. Grace takes truth and puts it on the inside so it can be expressed on the outside and match what God thinks. Everything else is a lie. A lie about how things are and ultimately a lie about who God is.
The person communicating grace is a person communicating truth. That communicator must be linked objectively to God through the Jesus of the Bible.
That person can be you or it can be me but there is a price.
"And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire." - Matthew 18:9 ESV
The single eyed one that looks to Jesus and focuses on grace has better vision than the offended one with two eyes.
I might say, 'But I won't have a happy new year with just one eye. Don't I need it to have a good year? After all.. I need all the help I can get.'
Just blow another noisemaker with one eye on the world and one on God and see how your year turns out. Remember... If you do that you will just say all the things you see.
I am convicted that happy or not I want something deeper... something truer... something eternal this year. In order for there to be hope there must be a true witness of grace.
Who is sufficient for these things? Certainly not me... but I can willingly limit my vision and look to Jesus.
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.' " - Mark 10:27 ESV