October 6 Reflections

John Claypool tells the story of a time when he went to camp as a Jr. High student. No one at the camp knew him, so he could literally weave a story of who he was. His dad ran a huge company and made lots of money. His mom won a beauty pageant. He was an A student and star of the football team. He could easily break the Jr. High track record for the 400 in the coming year. These were all white lies, not having much effect on anyone but himself. His dad worked in a factory. Mom was a stay at home mom, while cleaning some homes on the side. She was never in a beauty pageant. He was an average student and athlete, never a standout. Why did he feel the need to tell those lies about himself and his family? Why do you and I feel the need to exaggerate, make up stories about ourselves, try to make ourselves look better than others?

He goes on to tell his story of how he always felt less than others and that he was never enough. It was only when he had a radical experience of the love of God in his life, where he knew in his heart that he was accepted and loved by God as he was, that he began to shed the idea of trying to prove he was somebody. I know the same is true for me and I think probably for you as well. The deep truth of life is that God unconditionally loves us as we are; knowing that we can face the lies of a culture that says we have to be a certain way to be somebody. In Christ we are somebody; we are enough. Knowing and believing this means we don’t have to steal from others, nor lie about them and ourselves.

Basically, lying is about making ourselves look good or saving our skin. Satan, the father of lies, wants you to believe that you must look a certain way, have a certain income, live in a particular neighborhood, wear a name brand, and have a list of accomplishments to be worth anything. If you don’t, you began to steal and lie to make yourself look good to others. We think things such as plagiarism, white lies, cheating, gossip, exaggeration help bolster our self-image. The deep truth that sets you free is that God loved you first; accepted you as you are first. You don’t have to make up stories…you are incredible, and your story is the story of God’s amazing grace. We are going to think about this on Sunday as we reflect on the command, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16) Some possible passages to read and reflect upon: Exodus 20:16; Ephesians 4:14-25; John 8:39-47; 1 Corinthians 13:1-6.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn