Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lie with me ... the temptation to do something wrong and then lie about it

Our Golden Text in this week's Bible Lesson is from a letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. In it he prays that God will preserve them blameless. I love that. Imagine being preserved blameless, our honesty and integrity pure. There is nothing we need to feel guilty about, no reason for anyone to try to blame us for something, and we would not feel the need to blame anyone else. Blameless all the way around. In the Phillip's translation of the Bible this phrase is 'spotless integrity'.

In another letter, this one to the Corinthians, Paul worries that, as the serpent beguiled Eve, so this young church might be 'corrupted' from the simple Christian life. Corrupt means marked by immorality, dishonest. One who lies.

Reading the account of Joseph being sold into slavery, taken to Egypt, sold again to be a servant in the household of wealthy Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officers, I saw something I had not picked up on before. Joseph is the beloved son of Jacob, who through his own spiritual growth, wrestled with error and took on the new name of Israel. He leads his people with a deep conviction that there is one God. Joseph, a favored son, sat at his feet learning about the Scriptures. Now he is far from his father and his home but those teachings give him courage and strength. Everything he does prospers. Potiphar is no fool. He can see the hand of God is on Joseph. He puts him in charge of his entire estate and household. He is now free to indulge in gluttony and neglect all else, including his wife. This woman 'cast her eyes' on Joseph and she finds a man who chooses to resist what is being freely offered and stick with his principles.

Here is the part that stood out to me. She says, "Lie with me".  She entices him to do that which she knows is wrong and then just lie about it. How often does life hand us the opportunity to do that very thing. Come misbehave and then we'll lie about it. It will be good. You'll see. No one will know, no one will find out. Don't believe that for a moment! Error loves to tempt us to some mischief and it often starts with small things. You might think some little indiscretion is harmless but it just makes it that much harder to resist next time. And there will be a next time, and soon you are caught. Then comes the lies.

Joseph refused. And continued to refuse day after day. He knew in his heart he could not commit this sin with her because he would not betray Potiphar's trust, but more importantly, he would  not dishonor God. To do this thing would be to sin against God. That's a pretty good thing to keep in mind when tempted to do wrong. This is a sin against God.

Infuriated by his stand for good, she plots to discredit him and those accusations cannot be ignored. But Potiphar sends him to Pharaoh's prison and the rest of the story is well known. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Christian Science reveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of man. Will - blind, stubborn, and headlong - cooperates with appetite and passion. From this cooperation arises its evil. From this also comes its powerlessness, since all power belongs to God, good" (S&H 490)  Don't cooperate with evil!

Today I will be alert to the many little ways error would try to say, 'lie with me'. I certainly do not want to dishonor God and being aware of where these suggestions are coming from gives me the power to resist and denounce them. No, error, I will not 'lie with you'. I will not choose to do anything with you but see that you are a liar. You have no power, no authority, no way to enforce your threats. You are nothing. I will listen for what God is saying, 'be truthful with Me', and follow and rejoice in the freedom and blessings that brings. God preserves me blameless.

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