Ordinary Sunday 17, 30th July 2017 -Vicar’s Reflection
Is it ever OK to lie? Is withholding the full truth the same as giving false information? What is the difference between facts and alternative facts? In political leadership in NZ and the USA currently the issue of truthiness and lying is hot. Matiria Turei has admitted to lying to WINZ twenty years ago when under financial pressure. Truth has an essential place in public affairs as ethics; and between individuals as honesty; on this our society is based. If truth and honesty become relative and ill-defined then the basis for a fair and just society is under-mined. Christians look to scripture for guidance. Today in Genesis, we read how Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead of her younger sister Rachel. A clever but dishonest ploy by Laban to marry off both his daughters. Other examples of dishonesty in the Old Testament are there not to condone lying, but to expose the deviousness of the human heart. Joseph suffered through the dishonesty of his brothers, yet in the end they were reconciled. Joseph declared that what they had done as an evil act, God had turned into good (Gen 45). Jesus said: – “Let your ‘yes’ mean yes and your ‘no’ mean no” (Matt 5.37)– a counsel of simple honesty, which Peter learned, to his shame, meant speaking the truth even to a servant, at the risk of his life. Let’s not lose sight of truth in a haze of truthiness and alternative facts.