The truth, the whole truth

Most Christians believe that lying is wrong. Do not bear false witness. It’s pretty clear. But even the early Anabaptists struggled about whether it was necessary to always tell the whole truth all the time.

There’s a story told about the early Anabaptist Menno Simons in the Netherlands. He was travelling by stagecoach, sitting up with the driver. Police officers galloped up and asked Menno, “Is Menno Simons in the carriage? We have a warrant for his arrest!” Menno bent over from the top of the coach and called in, “Is Menno Simons in the carriage?” The people said, “No,” so Menno addressed the horsemen, “They say that Menno Simons is not inside the carriage.” The police officers galloped away, and Menno’s life was saved.

Sometimes we think it’s OK to tell just part of the truth. Maybe it will save a life. But most of the time we tell part of the truth to keep ourselves out of trouble, or to help preserve our reputation. Sometimes we are telling only part of the truth in order to mislead someone. Can you think of a time when someone told you part of the truth? They may not have technically spoken lying words, but by not saying the whole truth, you came to the wrong conclusions.

I think one of the conditions that can help forgiveness, is a confession that is full and complete. Is that what happens in the Joseph story? We’ll conclude our series on Joseph this Sunday.

This week’s prayer: Lord, help us this week as we make decisions about whether to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help us God!

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