I received a fascinating email this week. Rather than having me describe it, I’ll let you read it for yourself. I’ve removed the sender’s name to avoid public embarrassment.
This was sent to me and several other church leaders in the area I serve. Had I not seen the email addresses it was going to, I might simply have deleted it as yet another piece of spam. But because this was sent to several specific churches in the area, I felt compelled to reply. Here’s what I said:
I shared this whole incident on social media, and what surprised and saddened me is that, apparently, this is not an uncommon phenomenon. It seems that some youth of means are buying their way out of the community service hours that are required of them to graduate from high school. What equally saddens me is that there are organizations that will exchange these bribes for lies!
Some have suggested that schools need to do a better job of explaining the value of community service for the enrichment and development of society. Others have said parents need to monitor these activities more clearly. Ultimately, the responsibility of parents, schools and churches is to foster the upholding of truth.
Whether it’s signing off on something that is untrue, or reframing the truth on your taxes, a lie is a lie. And God seems pretty clear about lies very early in the Bible: “You must not testify falsely against your neighbour” (Exodus 20.16, NLT). And Jesus said, by inference, that just about everybody is our neighbour, so that covers it.
We live in an era that sees people calling truth into question all the time, each to suit an agenda. But the truth of God, like the character of God, is unchanging. There’s no need to sell your birthright for a bowl of stew. Stand up for what’s true, and you’ll always be on the right side.