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Sifting through the falsehoods

 

JUSTICE FOR GOD’S WORD

Jesus is the One who holds the truth

By Vernon S. Broyles III | Presbyterians Today

O that I had in the desert a traveler’s lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a band of traitors. They bend their tongues like bows; they have grown strong in the land for falsehood, and not for truth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, says the Lord. Beware of your neighbors, and put no trust in any of your kin; for all your kin are supplanters, and every neighbor goes around like a slanderer. They all deceive their neighbors, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongues to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent. — Jeremiah 9:2–5

Man with red X taped to his lips with the words “Don’t lie” written on his face.Is our situation — the continuing political polarization of issues — really that bad, or does it just seem that way? The reality may well be close to the lament of Jeremiah, because our nation is so deeply enmeshed in the struggle between truth and falsehood that choosing sides has become a daily exercise. It has been made all the more complicated by elected leaders who have spun a tale of stolen elections. The picture is rendered more troubled because these allegations have been embraced by some who declare that they represent the will of God in challenging the election results.

There is, of course, pushback from those who view the voting in our national election as fully vetted and very clear of illegalities or other problems. Perhaps the most troubling responses have been the racist reactions in many places, which have led to the adoption of state voting laws that clearly have the effect of placing an unnecessary burden on people of color. One angry white legislator even posed the idea of a new party that lifted up “the Anglo-Saxon tradition” reflecting clearly the anger over the overwhelming participation of people of color in the most recent election. This proposal was scrapped.

Obviously, all this talk about politics raises the question of what does this have to do with the church? The answers are manifold. And they all center on issues of justice in a culture that has long changed into one that is now multiethnic, multifaith and multi-lifestyle. It is in this culture, though, that the power held by a few is far from being evenly distributed. In fact, too many of our political systems are managed to protect a culture and extend privileges that leave many out in the cold.

Whatever else is true for us as Christians, the one who stands at the center of all the political strife and polarization is Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is he who loves us all in spite of our shortcomings, our prejudices, our lies and our grasp for privilege. It is past time that we repent of our efforts to hold on to whatever privilege we think we have and turn ourselves over to the One who is our Lord and Savior. Paul’s words to the faithful in Philippians 4:8 are a good reminder to help us get started as we seek to do better: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Vernon S. Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)’s Office of the General Assembly.

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