A dad brought his 10-year-old son to my office. “Tell Pastor Bahn what you did,” he said. The young boy was not overly-afraid as far as I could tell. I had tried to present a non-threatening demeanor. I’m not certain whether the father wanted that, or if perhaps he wanted to scare the bejeebers out of his son by taking him to The Pastor.
There was an awkward silence. The boy barely raised his eyes to me. It seemed that he was more ashamed than afraid. “I told a lie,” he said.
“Hmmm,” I wisely replied. “That’s not good. What did you lie about?” We talked for a few minutes about lies and how dangerous they were. I used some pennies I had in my desk to make a point. “If I tell you that this is $10 would you believe it?”
He must have thought it was a trick question, so he finally offered a sheepish, “I guess so.”
“Hmm,” again my wisdom showing itself. “Do you really think that just because I said this was $10 it would be $10? Don’t you know this is just a few cents?”
“Uh huh,” he admitted.
“So my telling you something is true doesn’t make it true does it?”
“Do you know how God created the world? He said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. When God spoke what he said came to be. If God said, ‘Let there be $10,’ there would be $10.” I could tell I wasn’t making much of a dent in this 10-year-old boy’s mind.
“Let’s try this: Suppose I told you this was $10 and you took those pennies to the store and tried to buy some Legos with those pennies. What would happen?”
“They wouldn’t sell them to me.”
“Even if you were completely sure it was $10? Even though I had told you so?”
“No. That’s not $10.” He was growing more confident.
“But if you believed it was $10, because I told you it was so, or if I told you that they were selling Legos at Walmart for a few pennies, and you believed it, you would be disappointed and maybe even a little embarrassed if you tried to buy them. You might have told your friend that you were going to get some Legos and you could play with them together when you got home from the store. But you would have to tell them that you couldn’t buy the Legos.”
Quite a nice little sermon here, huh? Only now do I realize that I was setting up another scenario in which he would be mightily tempted to lie. Fortunately the conversation didn’t go that way.
When you tell someone a lie, you give them hope, and they can be disappointed, hurt, and embarrassed if they take your word for it. What’s more, when we lie we are playing God, attempting to make a world out of our words. Only God can do that.
More important still is that God is completely faithful and true. Jesus is truth incarnate: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” – John 14:6
As truth incarnate, his words never lead us astray. Believing them will not put us to shame. We can rely on what he says. That applies to his promises of forgiveness, answered prayers, help in time of need, salvation, and eternal life.
Followers of Jesus are people of the truth.