12-23-2007

Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death (Prov 21:6).
It’s a pretty straight forward statement.  Yet the more I stop and ponder this truth, it’s deeper than first glance.

We might use this proverb to talk about people who try and con others by lying to them.  In the movies we kind of like those “con men”, whether it’s Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “The Sting” or George Clooney and Brad Pitt in “Oceans Eleven”.  Even though those movies are based on deception, we feel that the victims “deserved” what they got because the victims were the bad guys.  Right?  But come to think about it, real life doesn’t often work like the fantasy of movies.  Lying rarely helps any situation.

In real life, Solomon’s proverb goes beyond “con jobs”.  The truth affects our daily lives. Sometimes the “treasures” we are trying to get by deception aren’t counted in the millions of dollars, but are more subtle.  Sometimes the treasure is gaining or keeping a friend.  And so we tell a little lie about who we are in order to “help” the relationship.  But what happens when the truth comes out?  Sometimes the treasure we are looking for is simply being able to live with ourselves.  But the person we are lying to isn’t one that lives outside of our skin, we are lying to ourselves.  We may not always like the truth about ourselves, but change and growth can’t come without truth.

Real treasures come from truth.  God wants us to be truthful with one another (Eph. 4:25).  God wants us to be truthful with ourselves (Ps. 51:6).