Those who lie to others first lie to themselves. Those who lie to themselves lose the truth. The Bible has much to say against people who lie or bear false witness. We have seen the sinister effects this week of those who lie to others. The seditious actions of those who would destroy the hallowed halls of our democracy and attempt to assassinate our Vice-President and our Speaker of the House, or anyone else who would get in their way, makes my heart ache. To the insurrectionists, the lie was so true that the “others” deserved to die. Killing someone in revenge because you do not like how they vote is still murder. Doing it as a righteous crusade is blasphemy.
I am saddened by the effects this violent discourse has reflected on the witness of Christianity and people who say they worship Jesus as Lord. Have we not learned anything from history? When the Church embraces the Nation State, or the State embraces the Church, the result is always violence and corruption. That is why a major distinctive of Baptists throughout history has been the separation of Church and State with religious liberty for all. Because of Baptists like Roger Williams, Isaac Backus and John Leland, we have the first amendment to the Bill of Rights.
The musical The Man of La Mancha is a complicated story-within-a-story featuring Don Quixote. Quixote is a delusional character who sees windmills as giants to be fought. No one knows what to make of Don Quixote. The Don Quixotes of today post and repost, e-mail, and explore the dark alleys of the internet. They are psychologically manipulated, immersed in convoluted conspiracy stories, and financially preyed upon by cynical “true believers.” In the musical, the people around Don Quixote try to guide him toward the truth that is obvious to them. He is staying at an inn, not a palace. It is an old rag Dulcinea tosses to him, not a silk scarf. He is a fool who thinks he is a knight. But then they begin to see his humanity. They see his need to be treated with respect. Not every modern Don Quixote is noble, but all should be treated with kindness. Remember, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” Treat people with grace. Answer with respect. Always speak the truth in love.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be truthful. And let’s experience the love and power of God together while still apart.