"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
March 4, 2015
Once upon a time there was a young shepherd boy, who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day being all by himself, so he devised a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rush down towards the village calling out, "Wolf, wolf," and the villagers came running out to meet him. Some of them stopped him for a considerable time to ask questions about the wolf. This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he tried the same trick. Once again the villagers rushed out to help him, only to find that there was no wolf. Shortly after this, a wolf actually did come out from the forest and began to bother the sheep. The boy cried out, "Wolf, wolf!" But this time the villagers, who had been tricked twice before, thought the boy was once again deceiving them, and nobody came to help him. So the wolf made a good meal of the boy's flock. When the boy complained, the wise man of the village said: "A liar will not be believed, even when he's telling the truth." (Aesop fable: "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" AKA "The Shepherd's Boy Fable")
My niece's little boy, Jax, is in kindergarten this year. He made it pretty good the first half of the year, but ever since Christmas break, school has become very long and tiresome for him. Honestly, I'm proud of him for doing so well as long as he did, because I was a horrible kindergartener. I cried every single day, all day long my first year of school; and that is not even an exaggeration.
Every Monday through Wednesday I babysit Jax's baby sister, so go over to their house those mornings before his dad takes him and his sisters to school. For probably 2-3 weeks, every time I went over there, Jax would say that he was sick and wanted to stay home. Jax is my buddy and does like staying with me, but instead of saying that, he would always say he wasn't feeling well. He would cough, or have a stomach ache, or some other ailment. One morning he sat in front of their fireplace with his face close to the heat until it got hot, then came over and told me that he had a fever.
Knowing that it was going to be a long three months or so until school was out if he did this every day, I decided it needed to be nipped; plus he needed to learn that you don't get what you want by lying. One morning I had him sit on my lap and told him that we needed to have a talk. I told him that when he said that he was sick, when he really wasn't, that he was telling a lie. There really are kids who are sick every single day and have to stay in a hospital and can't go to school and learn, or live at home with their parents and sisters and brothers, or have birthday parties, or play outside and do fun things. It was okay for him to tell me that he wished he could stay home with me, or he wished it wasn't a school day; but not to say that he was sick when he really wasn't. If he told me that he was sick every day because he didn't want to go to school, then I wouldn't know if he was telling the truth when he really was feeling sick.
Ever since that time, he has not told me that he was sick anymore. He has said that he didn't want to go to school, or he was tired, or he wanted to stay home with me; and that's fine, because those things are the truth. I understand that Jax is five, but I didn't want him to get into the habit of lying about being sick, when he really wasn't, hoping that he would get to stay home from school.
I've known adults who had lying and deceit down to an art. Over time, it had become second nature to them. I've wondered at times if they even recognized the fact that what they're saying is not true. They will make something up or exaggerate or lie when the truth would be much simpler.
I had an acquaintance years ago who would tell people, "Loretta and I do this all the time," or "Loretta and I go there all the time," regarding different things we had done together. I would hear her and think, "We've only done it one time!!" I never understood her need to exaggerate the truth. Who cared if we'd only done it one time, or had done it numerous times?! It wasn't a big deal either way.
Sometimes christians can get into the habit of lying; only that's not what we call it. It appeases our conscience if we call it covering up the truth, or a little white lie, or not speaking the whole truth, or just a slight exaggeration, or just joking around...... Often, those who do this won't admit to it. If they are confronted by someone regarding something they've said, they will try to laugh it off as a joke, or get defensive and try to put the blame on the other person as if it's their fault.
We need to be cautious and careful of the words we speak. If making up a story or lying or exaggerating becomes easy for us, to the point where it no longer bothers us or our conscience isn't pricked, then we may need to stop and ask God to search our hearts and convict us when we aren't being completely honest. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to prick our hearts and our conscience when we say things that aren't truthful.
There are several scriptures that speak of this:
"The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful." Proverbs 12:22
"Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, 'I was only joking!'" Proverbs 26:18,19
"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." Ephesians 4:25
"Keep falsehood and lies far from me." Proverbs 30:7,8
"Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies." Psalm 34:12,13
We don't want to be like the boy who cried wolf, and have a reputation for deceit or exaggeration or telling "white" lies. We should always want the truth to be in us so that when we need help or support, people will believe us and come to our defense.
It's also important to allow others to be honest. If you ask someone, "Do I look good in this?", and they are scared to answer honestly, you aren't encouraging them to be honest. I'm glad Loretta doesn't do that.
But I do have co-workers and business associates that do. A few weeks ago, I committed to help a customer on a particular day. I chose the day because it lined up with work I heard I might be assigned to, and other work I knew I was committed to. When I tried to confirm the work that wasn't certain, a co-worker told me that he had set a commitment for me on the same day I had just committed to. He had set that commitment several days earlier without checking if it was honest, and without even telling me.
I've also gotten into trouble for telling customers that I wasn't certain which day I could do work because something else was lined up first, and might take longer than I'd planned. I'm supposed to make firm commitments, even if I'm not certain I can meet them. I know the customers I work with very well, and know that they prefer the honest answer, even if it's a little vague.
Even though management keeps stressing how important integrity is, the environment doesn't encourage it. It isn't an environment comfortable for any engineer, and I've daydreamed several times about quitting.
So, as important as it is to be honest, please let others be honest, too. Even if the answer you get may not be what you're hoping for.
2 lbs. Little Smokies
1 (10 oz.) jar grape jelly
1 (12 oz.) bottle chili sauce
or 1 can chili without beans
Put all ingredients in a crock-pot. Heat until smokies are thoroughly heated. Stir to mix the jelly and chili (sauce) together.
Reminder: Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 8th!! Don't forget to "spring forward" and set your clocks forward an hour before going to bed on Saturday night; otherwise, you just may be late for church on Sunday morning!!
Having a rough day?
Place your hand on your heart. Feel that? That's called purpose. You're alive for a reason!
Don't give up!!! - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon