Half Life

Psalm 55: 23

Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in Thee.

Now I don’t think most of us know “men of bloodshed” but I am willing to bet that everyone of us knows someone who is deceitful. Deceit is defined as: misrepresentation, deception, falseness. To deceive someone means to intentionally mislead. Of course it includes lying but one doesn’t have to lie to be deceitful. Deceit can be achieved by failing to disclose a pertinent fact such that someone is misled. It can be couching a situation in terms meant to cast one in a favorable light though the hearer is, in fact, shadowed from the whole truth. We may reveal only those facts which cut in our favor so that we intentionally mislead another. Deceit may even be achieved through our word selection. Perhaps the whole truth is that we are going to meet someone after work for a beer but we say we are going to a meeting out of the office in order to mislead someone.

No doubt you can think of other ways we can intentionally mislead others and yet allow our conscience the freedom of having not lied. Well, I don’t think Jesus is going to buy into that one. There are two points here. First, we are cutting our lives in half. Not good! Second, many times, perhaps most times, people see through our misrepresentations eventually. Then the trust and respect they have for us is damaged. Surely this isn’t what we want for our lives.

Part of the problem is that there actually is a social acceptance of lying. I have heard many people talk about lying to the IRS as though it is okay. There seems to be a general consensus that it is okay to lie if it furthers a reasonable purpose. Case in fact – there is a television commercial running right now for an intriguing new product. The product is called the Ring video doorbell. It is really a great idea. The idea is that one can view, from their smart phone, whoever is at the front door. In the ad, a woman answers the doorbell while sitting at what appears to be a sidewalk café. She tells the person at the door that she is bathing the kids. Wow! That is a blatant lie. She is not even home. You see, the people who put together that ad seem to think that it is okay to lie. What is even more disarming to me is that a lie was not necessary. The woman could have simply said, “I am sorry, I am busy right now,” or “I am not able to come to the door right now.” She didn’t have to lie in order to guard her security. This ad isn’t unique. It simply represents social acceptance of misrepresenting the truth.

We almost act, these days, as if people don’t deserve the truth. Well, maybe they do and maybe they don’t. I was raised that truth has its own value and I am glad I was. It makes life easier now. The real key here is that you deserve the truth. Your life and health deserve truth coming out of your mouth. Remember the principle of sowing and reaping. What do you think the harvest is of lying seed? God hears every word we utter and He knows all truth so He knows when we lie. That is deterrent enough for many. Cutting our life span in half might also be a pretty good constraint. Honor the truth.

Living Long

Psalm 55: 23

But Thou, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in Thee.

So, do you want to live a long life? Well, there is a hidden pearl of wisdom here. Men of deceit will not live out half their days. Ouch!! Now you see what is happening to the life span. Honesty has life in it. Deceit carries death with it. 

Deceit is interesting. I think of deceit primarily as not telling the truth but that really does not represent the thrust of the definition. According to the New American Heritage Dictionary deceit is misrepresentation, deception. It is characterized by trickiness and falseness. Deceitful means: Given to cheating or deceiving, misleading or deceptive. Some of the words associated with this idea are deceive, betray, mislead, beguile, delude, dupe, hoodwink, bamboozle, outwit, and double-cross. So what is the point? 

Deceit is not simply telling a lie. That is part of it, of course, but the greater part of deceit is to be intentionally misleading. One could tell a truth then, answer a question true technically and yet mislead the hearer. This deception is often seen in how we couch our facts. It is deceitful to represent the facts in a way which best paints the picture you want perceived when you know it is not really truthful. It is a twisting of the truth in order to mislead someone. This is a manipulation of the truth and of the person being addressed. It is reprehensible to God and will limit the number of days of the speaker. Just ponder this for a moment. We have all seen this and some of us even been guilty of it. We speak what is 10% true and leave out the other 90% of the truth because we do not like how it reflects on us or that it won’t bring about the desired result. I have watched people completely reframe an event in order to look guiltless. They will argue they did not lie because they spoke a bit of the truth but the reality is that in cloaking the greater part of the truth they are attempting to deceive someone. Now I want you to search your gut at this moment and see if you can tell how incensed this makes God. “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes seven which are an abomination to Him” (Proverb 6: 16). Out of the seven two are about not being truthful. This deceitfulness is right in the middle of all that God hates. I am guessing that is not where we want to hang out.

Jesus is truth. We are called to be the people of Jesus, therefore people of truth. It is a slap in God’s face when we mischaracterize something even it if is not a bald-face lie. In the eyes of our Father it is exactly the same thing. And why do people lie and deceive? In the end of things it is because they do not trust the Lord, their God. How much more can we insult God? Do you want to live a long and fruitful life? Be people of the truth.