[CF Devotionals] 2013-04-19 - Baron Val Switness

I would like to share some thoughts about Baron Val Switness wait that doesn't sound quite right. Perhaps something has gone kaput with me auto-correct I'd really like to talk about bearing false witness. Those words may sound like a foreign language to some of you still though. Outside of Bible circles you don't hear that phrase much anymore. In fact just a few weeks ago I mentioned that phrase in a conversation with a couple of students and I might as well have been speaking in tongues. The phrase comes from one of the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:16 (NASB) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Most translations I looked at used this same term but I found it a little different in two others.

The Amplified Bible read "You shall not witness falsely against your neighbor." The Message translated the verse as "No lies about your neighbor." In a parable in the New Testament, Jesus teaches us that a neighbor is anyone you happen to come in contact with. Thus, the heart of the verse is this: don't go around saying stuff about people if it's not absolutely true. Don't spread lies about people but maybe you shouldn't even spread the truth around either.

As you read the story in the next passage as an explanation. I must urge you to understand it as someone in Jesus' days would have heard it. Pharisees were respected religious leaders the good guys. If it were in modern times the Pharisee might well have been called deacons, elders, or even pastors. And on the other side of the fence were the bad guys known as tax collectors. These people sold out their fellow Israelites to collect money for the Romans and they generally took more than they had to and pocketed the extra.

Luke 18:9-14 (NASB)

And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get. 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, the sinner! 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

This Pharisee guy seems to have spoken truth. The other guy was a sinner. The other guy was a tax collector. But the Pharisee's failure was that he did not speak the truth in love to help his fellow man but spoke critically of others to build himself up. Furthermore, we do not get to set the standard; only God does. Jesus is our standard. Perfection.

If you turn 45 degrees off a straight path in just four feet you can get a couple feet off. But you can also get a couple feet off the path by just getting a couple degrees off if you go far enough just slightly off. My point though isn't that you need to apply geometry in your life but rather than you need to apply Jesus in your life. And if you have Jesus applied to your life then you live in the light of his love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a (NIV)

Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings and of angels. If I don't have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal. 2 Suppose I have the gift of prophecy. Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don't have love, I am nothing at all. 3 Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give my body to be burned. If I don't have love, I get nothing at all.

4 Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. 5 It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other peoples wrongs.

6 Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. 7 It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.

8 Love never fails.

Beating on a cowbell as hard as you can gets pretty annoying. When its loud its hard to understand anything but that cowbell. Love is kind. Are your words kind? It does not look out for its own interests. Do your words tear others down to lift you up? Love does not keep track of other people's wrongs. Do your words talk about the actual or fabricated wrongs of others? Love always protects. Do your words protect or harm? Would your words be called words of love?

Whether it's bearing false witness, spreading rumors, gossiping, or "sharing prayer requests", just end it all.


[email adam] acdum@hotmail.com

All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted

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