Those Blessed Lies
- 1999 3 Mar
Evangelical Christians have developed a peculiar hypocrisy. We tell Blessed Lies. We lie to one another. We especially lie to non-Christians. But they are Blessed Lies because we believe them to be true. We just don't know them to be true.
Years ago, while my wife talked to a young lady who obviously had laryngitis, she remarked that the girl had appeared to lose her voice. The young lady responded "I don't receive that! I'm believing God that I am not sick." Then she whispered in a harsh croak "But I really do have laryngitis." She told a Blessed Lie. She didn't say what was true, she said what she wanted to be true.
Don't be too quick to condemn her. We do it all the time. If someone asks for a healing prayer, we will often pray something like "Lord, we believe that You have healed this dear saint" or"we know, Lord, that You have the power to heal and we claim it right now." In many cases, you add the phrase "if it be Thy will." This is God's escape clause. If it doesn't happen, it's because it just wasn't His will. Nice out. The foundation of the Blessed Lie is in telling what we believe to be true rather than what we know to be true. I know that there is a legitimate use of faith in the face of contrary evidence, but we have made a habit of proclaiming our beliefs without having a deep inner certainty or requiring that some proof accompany or follow our proclamation.
The area in which we are most likely to tell a Blessed Lie is when we represent Christianity to outsiders. Christians often make outlandish promises to people when witnessing - "come to Jesus and you'll be happy", "He will take away all your problems", "you won't want any of those _____ (drugs, cigarettes, drinks, girls, boys, etc.) when you get saved."
Honestly, did all your problems and ungodly desires desert you when you believed in Jesus? Have you been constantly happy since you came to faith in God? If not, then why say so? One possible reason is that it is because we very much want these things to be true. Another possibility is that perhaps we don't think people will want to be Christians if we tell them the truth.
I would like to propose an approach to our witnessing that is more akin to its legal counterpart. If you were called as a witness in a murder trial, you would be expected to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God." The judge would not be interested in what you believe. He would want to know what you experienced relative to the case at hand. If, on the witness stand, you told the court that you believed that Fast Eddie fired the gun that killed Sister Eunice, the defense would loudly object and the judge would sustain the objection. Don't tell what you believe. Tell what you experienced. If you saw Fast Eddie shoot the gun, say that. If you ran like a scared rabbit and only heard a gunshot and a scream, say that. If you fainted dead away and missed the whole thing, say that. Just tell what you experienced. That's all that matters. Tell the truth.
My wife has a wise saying, "You can argue with a person's beliefs but you can't argue with their experience." The Apostle John wrote in his first epistle "it was Life which appeared before us: we saw it, we are eye-witnesses of it, and now are now writing to you about it. (First John 1:2- Philips.) In this verse John has given us the key to a strong witness and the way to avoid the Blessed Lies. Tell what you experienced. Tell the truth. That's all. That is the Blessed Truth.
You can reach Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.