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What does lying look like?

15 Mar

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the way Christians talk should be their consistent commitment to speaking truth.

Unfortunately, lying is such a part of our culture and such a part of our past, that we often lie without even realizing it.

This means, even as Christians, we need to work at putting off falsehood. But how? Especially, when it so widespread? First we must identify it. What does it mean to lie? How do we speak falsehoods? Rather than specifically identifying the different kinds of lies we are tempted to speak, I thought it might be helpful to instead to point out two more general characteristics of the kind of lying speech that we must work at putting off.

First, falsehood, is the kind of speech that doesn’t flow out of faith in God but instead trust in yourself.

Lying is a form of self-salvation. Can I say that again because really we could spend all day long identifying specific examples of lying but, this pretty much sums most of it up?

We need to put away all the kinds of talking that doesn’t flow out of faith in God but instead is a form of self-salvation. Because where does lying come from, what is it really, it is when we don’t believe God is for us and we don’t believe that God can protect us and provide for us and so we use our words to try to do for ourselves what God has promised to do for us through Jesus Christ.

This is one of the big differences between lying and simply making a mistake in what you said, lying is connected to manipulation, you are trying to manipulate the situation because you don’t trust God to take care of you. We use our words to promote ourselves, we use our words to gain advantage for ourselves, our words aren’t motivated by faith in God but by trust in self.

And second, falsehood, it is the kind of speech that is not based on the truth of the gospel and God’s Word but instead on the errors and lies of the world.

One of the most common and dangerous kinds of deceptive speech in our world today occurs when we talk about things that God has talked about in the Bible and we either change or distort what God says or we present human ideas and opinions instead. It is what Satan did in the Garden of Eden ultimately. God gave certain counsel and Satan gave the opposite counsel, and he’s been doing the same thing ever since. Whenever you sit down with your friend and you talk about marriage and you give counsel that twists the Scripture or that is from the world and not true to what God says in His Word, you are speaking falsehood, and really that is falsehood of the most dangerous kind. We have to be putting that kind of falsehood off. Lies go with the old self and truth with the new self.

Making an Argument

18 Sep

I’m not the world’s best arguer. 

But that doesn’t keep me from thinking making a good argument (i.e lovingly discussing an issue with a view to learn and persuade) is important.  If the tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable that seems to mean you can make it hard or easy to listen to truth by the way you talk.  

Even though I may not always be the best arguer, I know what I don’t like in an argument. Of course, this is like super-personal I’m talking about me listening to someone else, but what I’m saying is I have an idea what doesn’t work very well when someone is trying to set forth their case with me. I try to listen even when these things are happening, but the truth is, these are some of the things that make listening to them for me, more of a struggle. 

I’ll give a couple, perhaps you have a few of your own as well.

1.)  When they say more than they know.  I have a hard time listening when someone often proves that they are willing to speak authoritatively and dogmatically about things that they don’t  have all the facts about.  I’m not talking about when someone says I think this might be true.  Instead I mean when someone talks and acts like they know something is true…they know it with certainty when they really don’t.  We all make mistakes about our facts.  We’re not all geniuses.  I’m not, I know that. But when someone is willing to regularly talk authoritatively about things even they don’t know are true or that they haven’t done much research about, it makes me wonder about their entire argument. 

2.)  When they aren’t willing to listen to another point of view.  I’m not saying when they are not willing to agree to another point of view.  I am saying when they are not willing to listen.  And when I say listen I mean it in the most literal sense.  It’s very hard when you are talking to someone and you can tell from the way they are making their case that they are not listening very carefully to the points you are actually presenting.  A good practice I’ve seen in others which keeps them from doing this is by asking questions, “did you mean?  or am I hearing you right?”

3.)  When the desire to win is more obvious than a love for the person.  I heard a great illustration the other day about one particular apologist who had a debate with someone, and even Christians went away saying that even though he won the argument, he left them even as Christians with a bad taste in their mouths because of his attitude.  Contrast that to an apologist like Francis Schaeffer, I’ve heard that he could turn a formal debate into something that was more like a discussion between friends all because of his evident love for the person he was speaking to. 

4.) When someone speaks with equal passion about minor issues as major ones.  I’m all for a passionate discussion, but for me personally (I’m sure not everyone is like this) but when someone is as passionate about what they think is the right color for shoelaces as they are the inerrancy of Scripture, I tend to go away just thinking that they are opinionated about everything in general. 

Arguing with our eyes closed…

24 Feb

It is so easy to just see what we want to see.

Consider the following argument I recently read in a teacher’s magazine:

“The bicycle would seem to be a good argument for intelligent design…But in fact, the bicycle makes a convincing case for evolution. In its dinosaur period, its front wheel was enormous, its rear wheel a tiny, spinning afterthought. The rider had to mount from a stool, and in those helmetless days, a fall from the bike’s great height could be calamitous. To become the lightweight, multigeared, fast and friendly creature we know today, countless mutations took place, and some iterations turned out to be more fit than others. And so it goes today…”

I’m hoping the writer is kidding.

And perhaps he is, I mean does anybody really think those ‘mutations’ took place randomly?

But my point is this, if a person can look at a bicycle and act like it was an argument for evolution we have to acknowledge it is very, very easy to just see what you want to see.

In other words, there’s no such thing as a neutral fact.