Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25 KJV)
Here lying and truth are standing opposed to one another like night and day, shadow and light. The apostle supports his argument with the statement: “for we are members one of another.” Members of one body – the holy Christian Church. This expresses the truth that lying is a serious sin against the ecclesiastical communion and that filial love and harmony depend primarily on truthfulness and honesty. What purpose does lying have? It is destructive to those sharing all spiritual goods here and there in eternity. It is harmful to those, who have come to realize not only the negativity of falsehood, but also that every lie burdens the heart with new afflictions and draws it deeper and deeper into darkness and corruption. Lies have no positive value for those, who are eager to save souls – theirs and others. Even if lies purport to put something into a better light, yet the truth will come out – even if it is only on the last day of judgement. Some would even argue that the truth often gives rise to conflict and strive as it uncovers evil, sin and corruption – yet the Christian congregation is far more strengthened by the truth than by falsehood and cover-ups committed by even the best of intentions. Lies and cover-ups give rise to hypocrisy and more shameful vices, because the evildoers start to get convinced that they can get away with murder. Truthfulness on the other side is like a fresh breeze that enlivens and invigorates all. Lies however are like poisonous clouds which suffocate those it covers up. Therefore beware of lies and untruthfulness!
Lord, our God! Keep us from untruthfulness and all superficial affirmations, assertions and declarations. Keep our words simple and true. Grant that we will remain honest, straightforward and truthful as we remember that we will have to answer you at the last judgement. Keep us from the temptation to lie and give false testimony and witness by the ever faithful and truthful witness of your dear and most beloved Son Jesus Christ – our Lord, saviour and God. Amen. (Württembergisches Kirchenbuch 1931)
The Law of God is good and wise And sets His will before our eyes, Shows us the way of righteousness, And dooms to death when we transgress.
Its light of holiness imparts The knowledge of our sinful hearts That we may see our lost estate And turn from sin before too late.
To those who help in Christ have found And would in works of love abound It shows what deeds are His delight And should be done as good and right.
But those who scornfully disdain God’s Law shall then in sin remain; Its terror in their ear resounds And keeps their wickedness in bounds.
The Law is good; but since the fall Its holiness condemns us all; It dooms us for our sin to die And has no pow’r to justify.
To Jesus we for refuge flee, Who from the curse has set us free, And humbly worship at His throne, Saved by His grace through faith alone. (Matthias Loy, 1828-1915)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the nineteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 352 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.