You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
My clock lies to me. Throughout my life I have had times when I collect things. Once it was eagles. To this day I love eagles but there was a time I would go to the mall or any store that might sell them and tell Judy, “I’m going to look for eagles.” If I found one, I would buy it. Not too long ago it was BB guns. It started with a Red Ryder model (the one from the movie, “A Christmas Story”). The next thing I knew I had nine BB guns and pistols. Boom. Just like that. Over the years urges have come and gone but there is one that has kinda stuck with me. Clocks.
A long time ago (and in a galaxy far, far away…you know, like the Star Wars movies) I started collecting clocks. Unlike eagles and BB guns, this one can get rather pricy. But it started rather innocently. When Judy and I were stationed in Germany near the French border, we went to a flea market with a couple of good friends. My friend spied a German wall clock laying on the ground, halfway in a mud puddle and ended up buying it. The long story made short is that I ended up talking him out of it. It was a swap kinda thing. It is a bing-bam clock which means it strikes on the hour and half-hour. It was pretty old then, and now, 42 years later, it is like me, a lot older.
It is a special clock because of the story and all the memories but it does have a problem. It lies. You see, over the years it has developed this nasty habit of saying one thing and doing another. As I mentioned, it is designed to bing-bam on the half-hour and then on the hour it counts the time out. If it is 4:00 then it will bing-bam four times. You can hear it shouting out the time almost throughout the house. It was nostalgic and handy. And then it starting lying. It started innocently enough—at 1:00 it would sound two times instead of once. It was predictable so I just lived with it. Now, well now, it lies big time. Randomly, and throughout the day it sounds the wrong time.
Well, adjusting the clock is quite easy…or at least it is supposed to be. So, if it was showing 4:00 but counting five, I would simply stopped the clock and moved the hour hand to five. I waited an hour to restart the clock—problem solved—or not. I restarted old faithful and at 6:00 it sounded five. So, I slid the hour hand to 5:00 and waited and sure enough it chimed six. No matter what I did the clock lied. It has stubbornly developed a very bad habit. Hmmmm.
Fortunately for the old clock, I like it a lot. Its value to me goes way beyond its value as a time teller—it is part of the family. Because of that, I’m willing to tolerate its bad habit. I don’t like it. I don’t trust it. It is frustrating, but in this case, it is mostly harmless. I simply have learned to believe it when I can read the dial but not when I can only hear it. It’s a negotiated settlement. That works fine for clocks—but it is not fine for people.
When I was growing up telling the truth was a pretty big deal. Now, I would be the last to tell you that I always did it. I didn’t. But the bottom line was if you did the crime—you did the time. Lie and get caught (and invariably I did) and Alston and Leslie (that’s daddy and mama) made sure you received a refresher course on the importance of telling the truth. Whether it was a spanking or washing my mouth out with soap—I learned lying was a bad deal.
I think daddy and mama must have talked to Jesus about it, because He thought it was a big deal too. One time, there was a group of religious leaders who had a problem speaking or even liking the truth. Jesus cut loose on them and said, “You are just like your father the devil. When he lies he is just speaking his natural language. He is the father of lies and the truth is not in him.” Wow—so if you ever wonder why lying made the big ten—now you know.
Today we live in a culture of convenience and whatever works for you—you kinda go with it. If telling a lie makes things a little easier—just cut loose and worry about the consequences later. Its like the 60’s “if it feels good do it” on steroids. Just know this. No matter what culture says lying is a big deal—regardless if you are a preacher, a politician, or the guy next door. God says it so it is a nonnegotiable for His followers. Oh, and even if you’re not a God follower you will still find life has fewer consequences and less regrets when you make the truth the standard.
As I finish this story, the old clock got it right. An hour ago—it got it wrong. Good grief…I just wish it would make up its mind to tell the truth. Speaking of truth—here are two you can count on every time. First…you can always trust and rest in creator God. Second…He’s got this. And that friend—is the truth.