Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bearing True Witness

It was an anniversary, not the kind one celebrates but the sort one memorializes. It was one year ago this past Sunday - March 11, 2011 that Japan experienced a devastating earthquake and tsunami. As terrible as that day was, as much compassion and attention as it evoked, I wonder how many of us would have given Sundayʼs anniversary much thought had it not been for the media? Note: no references were made to it during morning worship that day.

Such disasters frequently have such a fate except for those who, directly or indirectly, experience them. Even though so many lives were lost, so many more affected by these events, we quickly forget. We hear this from our military service veterans, from families of 9/11 victims, from those who lost friends during the strife for civil rights to name just a few.

Is this true because we canʼt carry the pain or because we just get distracted or busy? Institutional memories, both the ones we celebrate and the ones we mourn, are important to the further development of the institution whether it be a family, a church, a country.

Beware of those who would re-write history.

Iʼm afraid this “clear and present danger” is given a wide birth by the US Supreme Court. The result is almost anything can be said without regard to its truthfulness, accuracy or context. As we see in this yearʼs cycle of election rhetoric, this has become a favorite tool of politicians.

One of those 10 Commandments, that were the focus of Sundayʼs morning message, warns against bearing false witness. We must have leadership that can be trusted, believed, is honest, truthful and we should not settle for less. When we hear statements made that seem a little “off” from other things we have heard, we need to check them out.
How valid are they? As Will Rogers was famously quoted, “I only believe what I read in the paper and only ½ of that!

Much damage has been born of innuendo, rumor and misunderstanding. If history is not represented correctly, we are destined to make the same mistakes, and doing things that donʼt work over and over again is a sure sign of insanity.

Again, all this is true of families, churches and nations, plus all other institutions that make up communities. Let us strive to be of the character that we desire our leaders to possess.


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