John T. Willis

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lying, Deceit, Dishonesty, Trickery, Hypocrisy--Part III

Dishonesty affects all aspects of life. This blog briefly calls attention to dishonesty which permeates and pervades POLITICS on all levels. Webster's Dictionary defines "Politics" in this way:
"1. The science and art of government; political science.
2. The theory of practice or managing affairs of public policy or of political parties; hence, political affairs, principles, or the like; in a bad sense, dishonest management to secure the success of political candidates or parties.
3. Political affairs viewed as a profession, interest, or the like; as to enter politics."
Thus, "politics" is not necessarily a dishonest or sinful practice. Like all other aspects of life, this depends entirely on the person, the heart, the community, the state, the nation, the church.

Biblical composers, speakers, and writers often address the problem of dishonest practices in politics. In this blog, one can only touch the tip of the iceberg of political dishonesty. Here are only a few observations.

1. The influential people among God's people [the leaders] in the time of Jeremiah were the PROPHETS, PRIESTS, AND PRINCES. [See Jeremiah 1:18; 2:26; 5:31; 6:13; 8:1; 13:13; 14:18; 23:11, 33-34; 26:7-8, 16; 19:1, 25-26; 32:32]. They used their positions to gain what they desired, not what Yahweh commanded and taught. A striking description of their practices appears in Jeremiah 14:18: "Both prophet and priest PLY THEIR TRADE throughout the land."
Many influential people "work the people" to achieve what THEY desire. They are not concerned about helping innocent, needy people or pleasing God. This is a self-centered profession.

2. Jesus frequently confronted alleged "religious leaders" because of their dishonest practices. A well-known example appears in Matthew 23:2-12:
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses's seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; BUT DO NOT DO AS THEY DO, FOR THEY DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT THEY TEACH. They tie up heavy burdens, hardto bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds TO BE SEEN BY OTHERS; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. THEY LOVE TO HAVE THE PLACE OF HONOR AT BANQUETS AND THE BEST SEATS IN THE SYNAGOGUES, AND TO BE GREETED WITH RESPECT IN THE MARKETPLACES, AND TO HAVE PEOPLE CALL THEM RABBI. But you are not called to called rabbi, for you have one teacher [God], and you are ALL students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven. Nor are you be called instructors, for you have one instructor--the Messiah. The greates among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."
One does not have to look very far to see that this very thing occurs all the time in the church, in universities, in communities, in states, in nations. This is a daily human heart problem. There is an epidemic abroad.

3. One of thousands of examples is the news about the resignation of Jim Tressel as coach of Ohio State University. The pressure was too much for him. He yielded to numerous practices of dishonesty--call it violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one ofthe country's top football programs, lying to the NCAA and then covering it up, etc. We can point the finger of dishonesty at Tressel, but in reality this sort of thing happens all the time--very unfortunately.

4. Sadly, the general American population assumes that most, if not all, politicians are or will soon be dishonest. One thinks of President Richard Nixon, or President Bill Clinton, or Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger, or David, or Solomon, of Judas.

5. A classical example of dishonesty is Pontius Pilate. Matthew 27:11-26 reports that the chief priests and elders of the Jews made accusations against Jesus. Jesus gave no response. At the annual festival, it was customary for Pilate to release a prisoner from the crowd. The chief priests and elders PERSUADED the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to crucify Jesus. "When Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that the riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." The crowd demanded that Pilate have Jesus crucified, and Pilate agreed.
Just because Pilate "washed his hands" does not mean he was not guilty of dishonesty and agreeing to the death of Jesus on the cross.
People in high positions [political and religious alike] have yielded to the pressure of "the crowd," fears, money to be dishonest and portray themselves to act in one way when they should have trusted in God and done the right thing.

History shows that his epidemic of dishonesty will not stop. May God help raise up at least some honest people to do the right thing even when the crowd and the money and the opponents SEEM to be inviolable. BELIEVE that God will prevail; HE ALONE is actually in control of all life--including ALL HUMAN LIFE.

Share YOUR intentions and dreams with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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