In a discussion about God hating liars (Proverbs 6:17, Proverbs 6:19, Proverbs 12:22), the following question came up:
My discussion went along these lines:
“Do you know what a parable is?”
“If one man generates a tale from imaginary characters in order to demonstrate and teach a valuable truth, while another man uses truthful facts to manipulate another to unknowingly participate in a lie, who is the wicked man? Is this not clear?”
“A liar could never speak a fact that is untrue, yet still be a liar through and through because he is deceitful in his dealings, while meticulous in his facts.”
Unfortunately, in this instance, the man wasn’t asking so that we could speak and reason together, but he just wanted to mock God and mock my beliefs in the midst of our discussion. And he saw my questions as insulting and we couldn’t communicate with each other at all. I didn’t even know we were “arguing” initially, I just thought we were talking and asking questions to consider together. Thankfully, a friend revealed to me that it was arguing, so I apologized and departed. No sense debating over words with someone looking for a fight — you aren’t going to change their mind when they aren’t even listening but agree just waiting for their turn to speak.
Let’s not miss seeing the forest for the trees, and let’s not mince words so finely for the sake of finding someone to argue with over things that might be simple enough for a young child to understand.
I really enjoyed looking at this parable from Jesus immediately following this discussion. A parable, that while revealing a truth about “unclean foods”, and also mentioning “deceit” defiling a man, speaks back to instructions given to Israel in Leviticus about this very topic.
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. ” Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.) And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
Mark 7:14-15, 17-23 NLT
And this is what was given in Leviticus:
“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “Of all the land animals, these are the ones you may use for food. You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud. You may not, however, eat the following animals that have split hooves or that chew the cud, but not both. The camel chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyrax chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The hare chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The pig has evenly split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is unclean. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses. They are ceremonially unclean for you. “Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams. But you must never eat animals from the sea or from rivers that do not have both fins and scales. They are detestable to you. This applies both to little creatures that live in shallow water and to all creatures that live in deep water. They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. Any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you. “These are the birds that are detestable to you. You must never eat them: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, falcons of all kinds, ravens of all kinds, the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the barn owl, the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat. “You must not eat winged insects that walk along the ground; they are detestable to you. You may, however, eat winged insects that walk along the ground and have jointed legs so they can jump. The insects you are permitted to eat include all kinds of locusts, bald locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. All other winged insects that walk along the ground are detestable to you.
Leviticus 11:2-23 NLT
For someone only seeking to mince words, they might abandon these two passages as irreconcilable.
For someone insistent upon measuring and comparing and debating such things, they will find much of what Jesus teaches to be a stumbling block.
But can you step back from this and see the forest, not just the individual trees — even more importantly, can you see our utter and complete need for God?
Can you shift your perspective from being about what “I” or “they” are doing to be about what He has done? This is the ONLY way you will find yourself at His feet, clearly understanding such things. He is the ONE TRUTH, ONE WAY, ONE LIFE. Amen.