Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Integrity of Our Words

"Catch the foxes for us. The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom." Song of Songs 2:15

This morning as I began to do my morning surf for what is happening in the news, I was struck by several stories on the Jerusalem Post talking about a Swedish reporter who has reported that IDF soldiers are kidnapping Palestinians in order to sell their organs.

One of the Israeli headlines is Israel aghast at Swedish report on IDF.

For someone who has routinely witnessed outrageous lies against Israel reported in the Palestinian press - everything from Israel putting sex arousal drugs into Palestinian water to purposefully infecting the Palestinian population to HIV - I thought this kind of lying was confined to the realm of third world sophistry. Who would believe a European newspaper would allow such tripe to be printed as factual or that the Swedish government would not immediately move to denounce it as the foolish racist propaganda it is?

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee has been touring Israel and I haven't been exactly comfortable with the kind of things he is saying in Israel. It is one thing to be strongly supportive of Israel, it is another to issue statements that sound like they came from the fartherest zones of Israel's far right. Several of the quotes from Huckabee being circulated are, as they say in international diplomatic circles, "not helpful."

Take the one reported in an Israeli newspaper under the title of , Huckabee: 2-state solution 'unrealistic'. Huckabee reprtedly said that there is no room for a Palestinian state "in the middle of the Jewish homeland." Does he not realize that statements like these from U.S. political figures have deep ripple-effects in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? As a political figure, Huckabee should measure his words more carefully and he can do that without being compromised on the truth.

"The politician, a Southern Baptist preacher" also "praised Israel for giving Muslims access to Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock - also the site of the ancient Jewish temples - even thought the presence of a mosque there 'could be considered an affront," the Jerusalem Post reported.

Huckabee is performing like a bull in a china shop with these kinds of political statements. It may please his handlers in Israel (Irving Moskowitz), but these kinds of comments are not good for the already volatile standoff. Temperance, Huckabee.

What's worse is yesterday I received a report from a Christian Zionist organization in Jerusalem that took Huckabee's Dome of the Rock statement and repackaged it to sound even worse: their headline was that Huckabee said outright that the Dome of the Rock was "an affront."

Please, folks! Step back from the taamula, take a deep breath and get a little godly perspective on this. What is the point in ratcheting up an already offensive statement to millions of Muslims? Why misrepresent Huckabee's actual words and meaning? Do you think the Israeli government really wants to deal with Palestinians who have given up completely on negotiations? Speak the truth not exaggerations.

This lack of integrity is showing all around us. We have a president who made all sorts of promises about representing all the people of the United States and then once elected, began steamrolling a far left agenda through without any regard for his promises to the people of the United States. Lying to get in the position to do what you want seems to be the accepted M.O., but not only for the president. It is a plague throughout our society, even accepted in many Christian political circles.

Throughout the election campaign we saw lies, exaggerations and slander flying at record levels - and Christians participated in the melee seemingly without conscience. That really worries me. Are our consciences so seered that we are no longer able to speak with integrity? If that is the case, then our saltiness in society has lost its savor, and we cannot expect the Lord to fight for us.

The integrity of our words is important to the Lord - more important than our being able to prevail in any 'war of words'. We might win little battles by stretching the truth or outright lying, but we will lose the ultimate war if we don't play by God's rules. Integrity speaks the truth without misrepresentation.

This has been on my mind for days because daily we see so much exaggeration, misrepresentation and slander from all quarters - including from people of our faith. If we cannot have the integrity to speak the truth without bearing false witness, then we lack integrity.

1 Corinthians 9:24-26 says that as people of faith, we are running in a race to receive a prize and that every one of us is fervently endeavoring for "the mastery" of this race we are running - not for a crown that perishes, but for one that is immortal. Therefore, we are to run not without certainty (without a moral compass) - as if we are shadow boxing, wasting our energies not hitting anything spiritually solid.

We waste our energies when our words lack integrity. If we have become so embroiled in an issue that we no longer question what the real truth is, then we have been way-laid by the enemy and are no longer serving the purposes of the Lord to be salt and light in our spheres of influence.

We should not kid ourselves into believing anything different.

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