About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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When Self Trumps Truth


In my estimation, the basic sin of humanity is the pursuit of self interest above all other pursuits.  It all began when Adam and Eve put their own interests ahead of God's interests.  Since then we all, none excluded, struggle with what I call "the religion of self." 


Our obsession with self interest often causes us to shift any blame rightly due to us on to another.  In Genesis 3 we read how Adam shifted blame away from himself and onto Eve while Eve shifted blame from herself onto the serpant.  Accompanying blame shifting are irrational exaggerations, lies, and cover-ups that are meant to bolster our image, something the Bible calls sin.    


The command not to lie is found in Exodus 20:16.   It, along with the other nine commands were directed to the nation of Israel , as seen in Exodus 20:1 and 2.  The verses read:


"And God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."


The pronoun "you" in this passage refers to the nation of Israel, not just individual Jews as we often interpret the commands that follow.  Israel was to be a nation that upheld truthfulness.  Of course, how individuals in the nation go, so goes the nation.  When exaggeration, lies, cover-ups, and blame shifting becomes culturally acceptable in the process of self promotion, the nation becomes untruthful, which opposes the very nature of God.


As seen in Exodus 20:18 and 19, the Ten Commandments were given to Israel via a demonstration of God's awesome power that literally put the fear of God into the hearts of the Jews.  The Ten Commandments were not Ten Recommendations.  They were to be obeyed or else suffer the national curses that are described in Deuteronomy 28:15 and following.


There is something for us to learn here.  When a culture exchanges humble truthfulness with self promoting blame-shifting, exaggerations, lies, and cover-ups, Biblically speaking, it is treading on dangerous ground.  When self interest trumps truth, the self promoters, whether individuals or nations, are destined for a fall.  Proverbs 16:18 says this:  


"Pride [the foundation of self promotion] goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."


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