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Stretching the Truth

For some reason I just love the stories in the Old Testament. Especially Judges, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. This time of year is the time in my Bible Reading schedule that I can read all my favorite stories. Just recently I read one of my favorites that takes place at the end of 1 Samuel and the beginning of 2 Samuel.

It takes place around the death of King Saul. King Saul and his sons are in battle against the Philistines and Saul is wounded by an archer. Saul then asks his armourbearer to kill him so he couldn’t be taken by the Philistines, but the armourbearer wouldn’t do it, so King Saul took a sword and killed himself with it. The armourbearer then took his own sword and took his own life. This is basically how 1 Samuel ends…with the death of King Saul.

Then in 2 Samuel David is notified of King Saul’s death. A man, an Amalekite, came out of the camp from King Saul with his clothes rent and dirt on his head and came to David. He told David that King Saul and Jonathan his son was dead. David asked him how he knew that. (This is the part I like 😊 ) I’m not sure if he was just trying to impress David, or if he was trying to embellish the story to sound brave and strong, but he told a little white lie. He told David that he came by and saw Saul leaning upon his spear and the Philistines were chasing him and that King Saul begged him to kill him so he did. He then took the crown that he wore and the bracelet from his arm and brought them to David.

However, there was just one little problem, this man didn’t account for the feelings that David had for King Saul and especially for Jonathan. David rent his clothes and mourned for King David and Jonathan, but he did go back to this man. He asked “How was it that you were not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed?” (remember King Saul had already taken his own life, therefore this man only stripped him of his crown and bracelet) David then had the man killed for killing the anointed King. This man was killed for saying he did something that he actually didn’t do.

I think we all have that one friend or coworker that makes a

habit of stretching the truth a bit. We are still friends, and we enjoy their company, but we really can’t trust anything they say. But why? Why do some people do this even when they don’t have to? They think it’s just a harmless little thing that doesn’t mean much. But no lie is ever completely harmless. Often people lie in order to conceal something – a wrong they’ve done, or a personal failure. But sometimes a person lies in order to build themselves up in the eyes of others (like it seems the intention of this man here in the story). Down inside they may feel insecure or they want to make people think they’re important, so they “stretch the truth”

A lie is meant to deceive and to convince its hearers that something is true which is actually false. But a lie not only hurts the person who is deceived by it; a lie also hurts the one who tells it (fatally in this story). This friend who stretches the truth is still a friend, but it is a cautious friendship; you know you can’t trust them completely (and I’m sure so do other people). One of the Ten Commandments says

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)

The Bible also says in Ephesians 4:25

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another”

We need to remember to pray for those who do this and to make sure we keep ourselves from doing this as well. "Stretching the truth” does not help build us up, but merely tears us down because the truth will eventually come out. Or in this case the lie can get you killed as well.

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