Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Deeper Wounds of the Lying Tongue

     As a former newsman (and now a blogger), I take much comfort and feel a great amount of peace in knowing that the stories I write are as accurate in facts as best as I can know. I even go farther than expected to ensure that the facts of the articles are correct; this is why I now write mostly about theological issues because I know that the word of God is perfect in all sense.
     Many people disagree with the word of God (even many self-avowed Christians), which has much more to do with their interpretation of scripture, a problem that has existed since the canonization of the Bible and to this day. This is why I always have close by my side both my Greek and Hebrew dictionaries (which are also open to question by some folks) to be (once again) as accurate as possible as to what God intended for us to know (and clearly understand) the message He is conveying to His creation. I can honestly say I don’t intentionally lie or skew the truth (especially) when making statements about another person, and I’m willing and ready to provide the evidence to back up the statements I make.
     This proclamation isn’t always true with mainstream media, which (for the most part) have allowed (biased and opinionated) ‘comments’ to be the rule of thumb in this mostly politically-oriented society we live in. This is one of the most important reasons (if not the main one) I avoid political discussions.
     Having worked in the political arena for over 30 years (with both Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives), my last ten years have been devoted solely to theological issues because the word of God is infinite and politics is not, pure and simple. The underlying motivation behind my choice to avoid politics is because of the deeper wounds that can be caused by the lying tongue. Many a political career (and even an individual’s personal life) has been destroyed both in public and at home by another person’s rumor or innuendo.
     However, as we have witnessed in media these last few decades, the majority of those political careers have self-destructed by virtue of their own (and revealed) folly!
     But many whose reputations have been destroyed solely by rumor or innuendo seldom recover to their initial status and position in their respective realm.
     And guess what? Rumor and innuendo are blatant lies; not just opinions and perceptions, but down right lying at its zenith. Believe it or not, lying about other people is just as deadly as shooting or raping another person; and God truly hates lies!
     As far as God is concerned, if you break one commandment you have broken them all. God views any indiscretion against any of His laws a sin, and the person, whether he or she has chosen to follow Christ, is just as culpable of transgression and will pay the price for that particular offense. No matter whether a person is a believer or not, God requires temporal consequences for the sins committed. Paul confirms this immutable fact about God’s ways as he tells us in Galatians 6:7: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
     But what I find extremely interesting, even if God abhors the transgression of any sin, regardless of how minute it may appear to us, there are certain actions we indulge in that appears to really tick Him off:
     There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
     I remember being taught while growing up in the Catholic Church (which I left when I was about thirteen years old due to corrupt priests) that there was a distinction between certain sins calling some a venial sin, one said to be not causing spiritual death nor serious in itself, or, if serious, not adequately recognized as such or not committed with full consent of one’s will. This as opposed to committing a mortal sin, one that is extremely intense, grievous, extreme, very great, so serious in itself, adequately recognized as such and committed with full consent of one’s will, such as murder, which requires the death penalty. But, yet, in the scripture above, God mentions the sin of lying, by tongue directly and baring false witness, twice! Twice above shedding innocent blood! Why is lying, above shedding blood, mentioned twice as things that God hates? What is it that God knows and understands about the destructive power of lying that we humans fail to grasp?
     There are many sins we humans commit on a daily basis that do not necessarily break human and government laws. Obviously, based on varying laws in different countries throughout the world, major crimes (such as rape, murder, robbery, etc.) have to be enforced. But, with the exception of public slander and libel, perjury or lying under oath to a civil court, lying about someone is not really considered a punishable crime. Yet, to God, one of the worst of all sins that He hates (according to the scripture cited above) is lying about and baring false witness against thy neighbors. Yes, robbery and murder (and all that murder entails, such as acts of terrorism) are more heinous than baring false witness, but most of those crimes can be proven, prosecuted and punished. But the sins of bearing personal false witness against your neighbor, friends and family members can wound some of them even deeper than they being robbed or even murdered, even if later on those lies can be proven wrong, if at all possible!
     There are millions of people who have been thusly injured for life not because they went to court and evidence was presented against them and proven accurate, but severely damaged merely by rumor or innuendo. It is one thing to be accused of committing certain crimes and afforded the opportunity to defend oneself in an open court, but it is another matter when a person’s character has been attacked solely by innuendo, rumor and or by personal perceptions conveyed to others.
    For example, being labeled or accused of being perverted (such the abomination of a child molester, a date rapist, an adulterer or adulteress), solely by rumor or inference without facts or evidence, can cause deeper wounds to a person’s character, than actually filing charges. There are many individuals in jail today who are serving time for committing such heinous crimes (because factual evidence was presented in a court of law) but there are also many who are imprisoned amid their own communities, homes and families solely by such rumors, innuendos and inferences. And, isn’t it interesting that amongst the twice mentioned sin of lying that God hates, He also includes the sin committed by a person who sows discord in their own family!
     There are many folks out in this world who self-righteously claim they have not committed any major sins, such as murder, rape, terrorism, adultery, robbery, but guilty solely of victimless crimes and thoughts (lust, envy, coveteousness) which they believe do not affect other people. But, many of these same people go about so casually speaking of other folks and their personal lives without any proof or hard cold facts or evidence, solely by rumor, innuendo and inference; and much of this amongst close friends and family members. These are the same folks who begin their rumors by saying, “Shhhhhh! Please don’t mention this to anyone else!”
     We do not speak here about those gossip rags we see inside our grocery store counters about this celebrity or that one; it’s expected in the entertainment industry, and many of these stories are actually concocted by the celebrities' own publicist to get them greater exposure!
     No! We speak about the gossiping and rumors that are being spread about (and by) brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, all of their relatives and in-laws and friends amongst their closest inner-circles. Unfounded or unproven rumors about their love lives, dating and marital affairs, unexpected pregnancies, financial woes, their religious practices, hygiene, physical appearances, fashion matters, employment status and other social and domestic issues that are basically no one else’s business.
     So no one will think I have an axe to grind with the Catholic Church and its leadership (solely because one portion of that church negatively impacted my life during a vulnerable stage as a teenager), I want to quote a Catholic leader who nails the issue of lying quite succinctly.
     Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, in the august 6, 2006 edition of the Catholic Sun Online stated that lies come in a variety of forms, some of them quite subtle and others quite bold.
     He stated the following as offenses against truth: false witness and perjury, calumny, flattery, boasting or bragging, and rash judgment. But more profoundly, Bishop Omsted stated that “While these various lies differ significantly, their impact is quite similar. Lies of any shape or form harm other people and sow seeds of distrust in society. They also corrupt the person who lies. Should lying become an ingrained habit, a spiritual vice, the person who lies can reach the point where he no longer is able to distinguish good from bad, right from wrong. His own lies warp his very perception of reality itself. A habitual liar cuts himself off from the truth, and therefore from the source of truth that is from God; then, he becomes a slave of Satan, the father of lies.” Bishop Olmsted continues and states, “Of course, not all lies are equally serious. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (#2484), “The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims.”
     A common excuse offered in defense of falsehood is the saying, “it was just a little white lie.” But, whatever the seriousness may be, every lie is a misuse of the gift of speech. Every lie is a failure in charity and a breach of justice.” And more importantly, Bishop Olmsted said that for those who believe they have not caused any harm by sharing information about others, because they believe and know for a fact that what they are repeating is factual, truth alone is not enough!
     “The gift of speech can be misused, even when we say what is true. While we can speak the truth in love, we can also speak the truth in anger or in jealousy. We can tell the hidden faults of others to persons who have no right to know. When doing so, we injure their reputation and harm their good name, even though we have not lied.
     It is good to remember the words of Pope John Paul II about the necessary connection between truth and love. Speaking on the occasion of the canonization of St. Edith Stein, the late Holy Father said that this courageous Jewish convert who was killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz bears witness to something we all need to remember: “Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth!” (Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, in the August 6, 2006 edition of the Catholic Sun Online)
     Therefore, and last, but not least, I ask you, my dearly beloved friends, colleagues, associates, neighbors and yes, even my relatives, to remember: there are consequences we will all suffer for what we say about others. As was said by one of my favorite theologians, Matthew Henry stated thusly about lying and baring false witness against our neighbors:
     "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free, for we have need to be again and again warned of the danger of the sin of lying and false-witness-bearing, since nothing is of more fatal consequence. An addition to it in one word; there it was said, He that speaks lies shall not escape, and intimated that he shall be punished. Here it is said, His punishment shall be such as will be his destruction: he shall perish; the lies he forged against others will be his own ruin. It is a damning destroying sin!" (Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 19:5)!"
                                                 ~ ~ ~

Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that biblically refute the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven mythology. They are The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (Author House). For more information and access to his web sites, please click here: Joe Ortiz web sites

1 comment:

  1. I would be lying if I were to state that Joe Ortiz's books are no good. And I would be telling the truth if I were to say that his books are informative, readable, godly, scriptural, accurate, solid, interesting, challenging, and well worth the price. Well, to tell the truth I like to be truthful, so let me say that the books written by Joe Ortiz are everything I said in the second sentence (above). If readers like truth, truthful books, and truthful authors, they will absolutely love well-known media figure Joe Ortiz and everything his talented pen produces! I heartily recommend all of them.
    Truthfully, Robbie