August 2, 2016

“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1John 4:21)

In this love chapter of the Bible, John gives us 10 reasons we must love.  His last reason is that we have been given a commandment by Jesus that we are to love one another.  When Jesus was about to leave the apostles by way of His death on the cross, He gave the apostles this New Commandment.

Jesus explained in that same setting that this would only be possible because He was sending the Holy Spirit.  He used a word for the Holy Spirit that means: “One who comes alongside of you and attaches Himself to you for the purpose of assisting you.”

In our culture the concept of a commandment is lost for many people because we are so democratic in our values.  The closest we come to understanding the meaning of this word is in our military training.  When my youngest brother was in training for the Marines the order was given that the smoking lamp was out – which meant no smoking.  In defiance he lighted a cigarette.  His Marine drill instructor ordered him to bury that cigarette in a grave six feet deep.

When he reported to the drill instructor all covered with mud and sweat, the instructor asked if he had buried the cigarette pointing north and south or east and west?  When he wasn’t sure he was told that he had to do it again the next day and make sure it pointed north and south.  The next time the no smoking order was given do you think he lighted another cigarette?

Do you get the full weight of the commandment that we must love one another?

Dick Woodward, 06 August 2010

Perspective on Hypocrisy

July 3, 2013

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

People talk about white lies, black lies and bald face lies. We can lie by telling part of the truth or by quoting the truth out of context.  The spirit of this commandment cuts across all of that and prohibits our bearing a false witness or impression no matter how we do that.

In 1954 while I was driving a car filled with high school young people returning from a mountain retreat in California, a plainclothes policeman pulled me over for violating several moving violations. I knew that I already had so many citations for speeding this one would cost me my license and my job as a youth pastor.

While the policeman was writing up my ticket he paused for what seemed like forever.  He then told me what I deserved but said he was going to let me off with a warning for only one reason: he knew my father. My father had never been in California so I realized he thought he knew my father.  I responded by saying, “My father is a great man!”

I had a great discussion on ethics with those young people as we continued our trip home.  Because I had not deliberately created the false impression of the policemen, did I break the ninth commandment when I made a true statement about my father?  If I had said nothing would I have broken this law of God?

What do you think?  What would you do if you were faced with similar circumstances?  How many ways can we bear a false witness?  Jesus answered that question when He used one of His favorite words: hypocrite!