They speak falsehood to one another; with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
It seems that is lying and deception is the coin of the realm. From the mundane to the critical we lie and not only think nothing of it, we pay people to help us lie, to teach us to lie. We don’t call it lying, we call it spin or white lies – we call it anything other than it is. We justify it to get what we want.
The label on a bottle of juice purchased at Kroger says in large bold letters, “100% Cranberry”, then in small letters it reads, “flavored”, and the list of ingredients indicates that grape juice is the dominate juice in the bottle. To deceive is to lie and to lie is to deceive and they have their roots in the evil one. We don’t seem to mind lying if it suits our agendas; in the political realm we may scrutinize statements of the other political party but we seldom seem to rigorously test statements of our own party – after all the point of the political process is to win elections and spin is no different than a quarterback hiding the football from the other team during a play (a bootleg) – spin is just a play in the political game. If we can rationalize lying then we think we can use it as a tool in our personal or professional “worthy” cause, we think we can use lying and deceit and spin – but we can’t, we can’t master it – but it can and will master us.
Lying can master us to the point where it becomes a way of life, it becomes the coin of the realm; we accept it to the point where we expect it – and even if we may not personally lie as a way of life we find that lying is so pervasive that we give up trying to go against the grain.
In business we lie for economic reasons; to close the deal, to entice the customer, to get the employee to do what we want. The “bottom line” justifies the spin, it justifies putting “100 % Cranberry” in large bold letters and then putting the truth in small letters – let the customer think that the product is 100% cranberry juice, what’s the harm?
We have a serving tray that on the bottom in tiny print says, “For decorative purposes only, not for use as a serving tray”. Now really, there aren’t many people who need a serving tray for simply decorative purposes – there is a reason it’s called a “serving tray”.
We may think the juice bottle and serving tray examples are small lies but they’re not because they illustrate that lying is a way of life in business. Generally speaking, if people or companies or political parties or governments lie about small things they lie about big things – we can never master lying and deceit, it masters us.
A disciple of Jesus Christ must fear to lie as he or she would fear to ingest rat poison; lying not only poisons our hearts and minds, it adopts the work of the evil one – we are people of the truth, not people of the lie – we must not forget who we are in Jesus Christ.
The words of Yahweh are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
God’s words, on the other hand, are pure; they are perfectly pure, hence the number seven in verse 6. There is no dross, no impurity, in the Word of God – this means that there is to be no impurity in our own words and actions, it means that our actions and words are to be tested and refined, but tested by what? They are to be tested by the Word and character of God. This is not a thing of paranoid legalism, it is a relationship with the Trinity in which we desire to do nothing to pollute the relationship; this also means that we understand that to sin by lying to another person is to pollute our relationship with God
While the primary image of verse 6 is the purity of God’s Word we can also consider the effect of God’s Word dwelling in the believer – that Word is not only pure, it purifies the person it lives within. James exhorts his readers to receive the engrafted word which is able to save your souls. When we respond in obedience to God’s Word we are changed from the earthly to the heavenly, conversely when we violate God’s Word we violate the holy. There are times we need to wait and allow God’s Word to have its work within us, we need to allow the furnace of our hearts and minds to be heated seven times so that His Word can do its work within us, we need to place the situation we are in before our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus and allow them to speak to us, to mold our will into their will – learning to submit to the Word of God is a daily element of our pilgrimage.
Jesus is the Truth and our lives are to be grounded in Him – if Jesus is our Way of life then Truth cannot but be our Way of life.