Recently, there is a word that appears frequently when we look at American and Korean news. It is “a lie”, which can be fatal to a person. These series of events can teach you how much destructive power a lie has. Nevertheless, people lie. According to some research, a person starts to speak and tells a lie. We see that children lie without having to be taught. They sometimes tell a lie to save themselves from a situation, or they lie to try to find pleasure. This is the same for adults. Adults also lie too much in order to not take responsibility. To avoid the pain of having to take responsibility, we are going to lie when we look for the easy way. Although we may tell children that lying is bad, but in fact, adults, too, are lying. Children may not listen to adults, but they follow adults’ behavior.
I hope you have time to think about what it means to live a Christian life in a world that is full of lies. I also hope that it will be a good time to look at what we need in this generation of difficulty in distinguishing between fake and real.
These days I am reading a book called ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by M. Scott Peck who was a psychiatrist. I would like to recommend this book to you when you have time. If you read this book, you will find information related to 'lies'. Scott Peck has met the patients and arranged them well in his treatment. The effects of lying on mental health and relationships are well organized and very informative.
In the book, Scott Peck says that a lie can be divided into "black lie" and "white lie". "Black Lies" is a word that we tell a lie on what we know. On the other hand, 'white lie' is a statement about the fact that the content itself is not a lie, but it excludes an important part from the truth.
Usually we say black lies are bad. So many cases may be ‘black lie’ if we say not to lie. Exodus 20:16 " "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” This is the Lord’s command.
There are many other examples of black lies, but let me give you one example. It's a lie that some companies advertise that their products use organic ingredients, but in fact they are not. A black lie has the characteristic that it is very lethal once the truth is revealed.
Interesting things happened in China. It may be much better now, but China is notorious for being a fake country. Some made fake eggs. But once a person tried to kill himself by drinking pesticide, he ran naked. The fake pesticide was a stimulant, so he had to take off his clothes and run. It is a story of ridiculousness and sadness.
Unlike black lies, white lie seems to be socially accepted. As I said before, the content itself is not a lie, but it is the case of taking away important parts of the truth. For example, there is a white lie that parents make to their children. It is a lie that "Santa Claus gives a gift to you at Christmas". Sometimes it is considered useful because it is a sign of affection for children. Or you do not tell the truth because you love your children. It's the case that parents pretend not to fight after they fought so much. Of course, the wide-hearted (?) children knew that their parents were fighting, but they pretended not to know. But Scott Peck said that this can also hurt children. It is not always acceptable to tell a white lie. This is an example: The government, which hides basic information from the public through censorship, is not democratic, but shows a government that speaks lies. A white lie can be as destructive as a black lie.
The consequences of lying can be very destructive, but in fact, sometimes we do not notice what is false. We may not even know who is telling the truth or telling lies. Bar-Jesus is the person who is shown in today’s passage.
'Bar-Jesus' means 'Son of Jesus' or 'Son of Joshua'. It may be a trustworthy person by name. But the text introduces him as a "false prophet." It is sad because a prophet is a person who delivered the messages of God. Bar-Jesus seems to be a person who treated people in a magical way while pretending to be a revelator in heaven. However, people did not keep him away nor to be alert, and he was with the people until the apostle Paul came. The passage may show that people regarded him as a real prophet, not a false prophet. You can also see that people have been good at what he said. Before apostle Paul appeared, people might have thought of the words of Bar-Jesus as the word of God. If the Jews knew that he was a false prophet, they would have already punished him according to the law.
This demonstrates that how difficult it is to distinguish false from our lives. This is because it would be difficult for the son of Bar-Jesus, Joshua's son, to think of it as a false prophet. The scripture introduced the proconsul as a man of wisdom. Nevertheless, we can see that he lived with Bar-Jesus, a false prophet, until he met the apostle Paul. A man of wisdom who has a false man standing beside him, but has not recognized it. It is true for us. We will have to look back if we live in a lie and do not think we are wise. The life of a person who cheats, and the people who live in deceit, are all contained in today's text. What about the miniature version of our lives?
This question comes back as you read and meditate on the text. It is a question of how we should live in a world like this. I hope it will be a time to realize how important it is for us to live in the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The worry about what to do in order to live in truth comes from Scott Peck's book. And there are some guidelines. I want to share with you.
First, never tell a lie.
There is a play called 'Special Liar'. I have seen a bit of information on Youtube. The contents of the play show what happens when you begin to lie, without filtering. When you start to lie, you have to lie constantly. Scott Peck tells us that the energy we use to lie is more than the energy we use to tell the truth. When you start to tell a black lie, your life becomes painful. You have to endlessly lie, and then your life may end. When we begin to lie, our souls are not free, but become a poor life in which we have to live in a lie. It is because we are fleeing from freedom and confining ourselves to a prison called a lie.
Second, keep in mind that the act of hiding the truth can be like a lie. It says that every process of hiding the truth must involve a moral decision. Even when you tell a white lie, you have to be careful.
Third, hiding the truth is that you should not do it to get your personal needs, power, or favor.
Fourth, it says that the decision to hide the truth must stand in the other's position.
Fifth, it is important to remember that it is your responsibility to assess what is needed by others. Such behavior is very subtle and can only be done when you truly love the other person.
Sixth. The most important thing in assessing the needs of others is that it depends on whether the person has the ability to use the truth for spiritual growth.
As I read a book, I compared with Bar-Jesus in today's text. And I saw why he was called a false prophet.
Verse 8 says, "This magician, El Luma, has strived against them as a governor,”
Bar-Jesus was making his decision to hide the truth for himself. He was not focusing on what the governor needs now, but focusing on what his needs were. It was not a decision made for the Governor's sincerely, but a decision to lose what he has enjoyed so far. He wanted to protect his interests from his own point of view. But the Bible says that he was a false prophet. Is not it really scary to us? Could it be that we should listen to what we like to say from our own point of view? I do not know if Bar-Jesus would say that it was a white lie. But the Bible has said that he is a false prophet.
In verse 9, it is revealed who identified the identity of Bar-Jesus.
'Saul, who is called Paul, is full of the Holy Spirit,
Saul, who is called Paul, has read the heart of Bar-Jesus. And Paul knew what a person Bar-Jesus was. We can also learn that how can Paul read the mind of Bar-Jesus. Because Paul was full of the Holy Spirit. This shows that we must be filled with the Holy Spirit to live in a world of falsehood. It is not to live according to our desires like Bar-Jesus, but to live in the Spirit like Paul.
In the eyes of the world, Bar-Jesus seemed to be a helping wise man. But when I saw it in the eyes of the Holy Spirit, he was only a man who stopped God's work. We also want to have eyes like Paul. But I do not want to include people who live like Bar-Jesus in the lust of the flesh.
But we would like to see that the appearance of Bar-Jesus is not that he is unique. Maybe it's just the appearance of those who rejected the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We can find what the Lord had shown us in 1 John 2: 16.
‘For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16)’
Bar-Jesus was the man who lived on earth for the lust of the flesh, the glory of the eyes, and the pride of life. But then he became a false prophet. And Bar-Jesus has become a man who strives to prevent the truthful Jesus from being introduced to Paul the Apostle. In spiritual terms, Bar-Jesus was not a helping person for Paulus, but a man who ruins himself and ruins others. Bar-Jesus had the name of the Son of Jesus, but he became a blind man for a while as well as a life that had nothing to do with the true Jesus.
How should we live in a false world?
We must live to be honest.
‘Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. (Psalm 112: 4).'
' My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. (Psalm 7:10).
But like David's confession, we also need to have this prayer.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10).'
It is a prayer, "God renews an honest spirit in us." Whenever I see the inner image of Bar-Jesus and I look at myself, this kind of prayer comes to me.
I will pray that "I will renew the upright spirit in me." Paul also said: And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. (Romans 7:16)
If God does not help us, we can only be filled with a false spirit, not the Holy Spirit. This should be not going to happen. The habitat that was attached to the Bar-Jesus was truly terrifying. 'False Prophet'. It seems like a prophet, but it is a fake, a name given to Bar-Jesus who did not receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God and lived as led by his greed. We must be afraid that it will be attached to us.
We have to look at ourselves to see how we live in times when it is hard to know what is truth. What is full of the Holy Spirit means to lead to the Holy Spirit. We lay down our greed and live according to God's will. The attitude of fulfilling God's responsibility will also be honest. It is an honest attitude that does not give up the people God has entrusted to us, but fulfills his responsibilities and fulfills his sincerity. Taking responsibility is sometimes a painful thing, but it is also a great opportunity to meet the Lord who leads you through it.
I hope that you and I will be renewed by the honest spirit of the Lord.