My grandmother, political scientist. If you knew my grandmother, you would know that the previous phrase was spoken tongue-in-cheek. Grandma didn’t have much interest in politics and didn’t spend her time talking about it.
The daughter of a Republican, she married a New Deal Democrat in 1934. Family political discussions would inevitably put her in the middle of the two most important men in her life, so what was the point of it?
Besides, other concerns demanded her time and attention, such as canning tomatoes and completing fall housecleaning.
Nevertheless, one of the values that was of great importance to her was honesty. Whether she was selling eggs to a grocer in Coshocton or dealing with threshers at the farm, she didn’t have much use for someone who had a casual relationship with the truth. For that reason, I know she would be unable to support our current president.
One of the great ironies of our time is that the Christians who most favor posting the Ten Commandments in public places seem least interested in holding our highest public official accountable to them. Most notably, they fail to remind the president of the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
The importance of strict truthfulness is emphasized throughout the scriptures. Here is a sampling.
The psalmist declared, “I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love thy law.” (Psalm 119:163)
The wise one in Proverbs draws this contrast, “A righteous man hates falsehood, but a wicked man acts shamefully and disgracefully.” (Proverbs 13:5)
Job made this vow: “As long as breath is in me…my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit.” (Job 27:4)
We recall that Jesus praised Nathaniel as “an Israelite in whom is no guile.” (John 1:47)
All of the above scripture passages would have been important to my grandmother, but these verses from Ephesians 4:25-27 are especially applicable to her faith and witness: “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let everyone speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
Those words are as fitting now as when they were first written. May we take them to heart.
Rev. Philip Wilden is the pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, located at 55 W. Lincoln Ave. in Delaware.