Tag Archives: Shades of Grey

Thought For The Day 07/05/13

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Is It Ever OK To Tell A Lie?

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Pinocchio

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Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.

Author Unknown

http://www.quotegarden.com/honesty.html

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Someone I didn’t know asked me a question yesterday which prompted me to tell them one of those little white lies we all have been known to tell when we don’t want to really share the truth of the matter. And it was that one little and seemingly insignificant thing, that led me to think about today’s “million dollar question”. Is it ever OK to tell a lie? Now let me explain what happened to me and what prompted me to respond the way I did, without realizing I was lying when I answered, and I will let you be the judge of my choice yesterday.

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I was in the grocery store picking up fresh corn for our July 4th barbecue. A store clerk that I know by sight saw me, smiled, and greeted me by asking how I was doing. Now that in and of itself would have been easy to answer but then yesterday was not a usual day. I woke up with a headache that chose to hang around despite my best efforts to banish it away and to top it off, my knees have been singing the Hallelujah Chorus with the same gusto the Mormon Tabernacle Choir manages during their annual holiday concert, because of all of the rainy weather we have been having. So truth be told, I was feeling about as crappy as is possible to feel and yet I HAD to make that trip to the store, despite the fact that I would have preferred to have been sitting in my own house, still wearing my pajamas, with a cold compress over my forehead and waiting for some pain medicine to kick in. And yet, when this person greeted me, I cheerfully answered that I was great, (thank you very much for asking) and I added, “And how are you?”

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Now aside from the fact that it has served as a thorn in my side by nagging on my conscience ever since it came out of my mouth, I realized that in answering the way I did, I really hurt no one. Additionally, there was no reason for the person I was chatting with to really know I did not feel as well as I should have felt, and it was then that I realized that we probably should examine our motives for what has prompted us to consider answering in an untrue (or even a partial truth) way. Does our lie protect us or does it protect someone else? You see, when an evasion or half truth serves to protect someone from being hurt in some way, I have to wonder if we are really doing something that benefits them.

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A well known psychotherapist by the name of Dr Robi Ludwig, host of the reality television program, “One Week to Save Your Marriage” on TLC, which teaches a couple to empathize as they try to re-connect with each other, says there are 4 times when telling a little white lie is OK:

1. When the whole truth can hurt someone else’s feelings and do more harm than good

2. To foster the imagination and magic of holidays for children, such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy fibs

3. When offering passing pleasantries such as “I’m fine, thank you”

4. In order to compliment someone or make it easier for people to get along as a social politeness

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Now this is where my little white lie fits in and by Dr Ludwig’s definition, I am excused my lapse. Except for one thing. It is sitting on my conscience like a blot, and I will not know any peace for having told it until I unburden my heart to my Maker in prayer. Which is what He asks of me anyway, I think. So off I will go to pay my penance and to ask that He forgive me this indiscretion. Then again, the good Lord well knows that this isn’t my first “mea culpa” to Him, and it most certainly will not be my last! James 5:16 ESV, seems to agree, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Then again, as we read in Hebrews10:26 ESV, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins..” So do you think that given my propensity for telling those little white lies, that perhaps I better keep my fingers, toes and anything else I can manage, crossed?

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My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

1 John 2:1-6 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/17/12

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Why Is The Law Not Always The Law?

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Moses with the 10 commamdments

Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_079.jpg

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God  and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we  make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and  God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.

Marcus Garvey

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law.html

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I am a person who is always curious about the rules of something. I think that is because of my “Obsessive Compulsive” side which seems to dictate to me that to operate in the most efficient manner, things need to be maintained in some type of order. And for me, that applies to my belongings, my daily routine and my faith. Now this may well be my way of compensating for the fact that I have a mind like a sieve, which is the bane of my very existence! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….one day if you fail to read one of my thoughts, it may be because Dan got mad about something and decided to drop me off in the backwoods somewhere, and I couldn’t find my way home! Now you are laughing….I know because I can hear you all the way here in South Carolina….but like it or not, it remains an undisputed fact that I am hopelessly forgetful! Which is why when it comes to some of those absolutes of my faith that I hold dear, I tend to be a bit of a stick in the mud about following most of the rules! Now I will be the first to admit that there are some things that most probably made more sense in days of yore…when they were first given to man. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous amount that can be learned about the way we life today, by remembering that there are absolutes about accepted and acceptable behavior for man that are exactly the same today as they were 5,000 years ago!

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Humankind had always needed the companionship of other humans. The fact that the survival of the species is dependant on procreation aside, man by his very nature was meant to interact and bond with others like him. However, man has always been of the mind that he, and only he, knows what is best for his life and, by association, what must be best for those around him. And, of course, when everyone thinks they know best, disputes are bound to happen until suddenly, violence erupts within the community. Which is why laws are needed to guarantee a state of harmony and détente. And this need is no different today than it was when Moses carried the tablets from the top of Mt Sinai. Yes, God wrote with His very finger, His expectations for man’s behavior, and it became law. And interestingly, those first laws have continued throughout the ages to set the tone for many of the laws that societies have adopted to assure the smooth running of their affairs, even today! We read in Deuteronomy 28:15, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee”, and indeed, breaking the laws of 21st Century man often results in the most dire of consequences just as breaking the laws given to Moses did when the children of Israel wandered, seeking the promised land!

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Now there are always the exceptions to the rule. For example, today I am preaching to you in my own way, through the words of this post, despite the fact that the Bible tells us that women are forbidden to speak in church!  Yes, it was the law of the time! All you need do is read I Corinthians 14:34-35 which was written by the Apostle Paul! “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”. This is an example of how the changing times has served to alter one absolute, just as society has altered the expectations we hold for both ourselves and our faith! I wonder how many of you were also aware that the festive trees which Christians decorate every December, are forbidden in the following Bible passage found in Jeremiah 10:2-5. “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” Another law whose time has come and gone, just as the turning calendar pages have served to herald the coming of a new age!

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There are some Fundamentalists out there who hold that there are no shades of “grey” when it comes to truth in the Bible. They hold that we must all accept every word as a literal interpretation of what we must do and how we must behave. However, that is the same thing as saying that we must allow someone to die of an infection that is easily managed with an antibiotic created during the last century because that was not the way it was done during the time of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob! And while I can understand their need for these absolutes, because I myself am a creature that looks to absolutes for my own life, I also hold that God has gifted man with the capacity to dream and to think and to work toward making the world a better place. And is that not the gift we have been given by living in this age of modern technology? If God wanted man’s life to be otherwise, wouldn’t He have taken measures to prevent initiative and curiosity, instead of gifting us with these strengths?

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During this most blessed season of the year, please remember the millions of our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Give as much as you can, as often as you can to the following organizations. Your gift might just mean a family who has lost everything might just have something to smile about this Christmas!

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Staten Island Gift Cards For Relief
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For information, visit
or

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The Robin Hood Relief Fund

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121212concert

“121212” The Concert For Sandy Relief

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Call 1-855-465- HELP (4357)

or visit

http://www.121212concert.org/

or

Twitter #121212concert

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 08/24/12

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Where The Truth Lays

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“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Anais Nin

http://www.gardendigest.com/see.htm

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How many of you all have heard this expression…..”There’s one side and then there’s the other side and somewhere in the middle lies the truth“? Now I think that statement has become so pervasive AND accepted today because we have come to, somehow, see the truth (just 5 little letters) of something as a subjective thing. Now I have used the word subjective before but the truth (there’s that word again) of the matter is that you may not really know what I mean by the word. When we see something as subjective, we are basing our opinion of the thing by what we believe. And, of course, our beliefs are shaped by our attitudes or opinions without benefit of verifiable evidence. Which is why the truth (funny how often we find ourselves using that word) really doesn’t become an absolute for any of us, as it somehow exists out in some hazy place on the outskirts of reality! And so we travel through life seeing only our version of things usually without benefit of having another person with whom we have shared the exact same thing at the same time! Even when we appear in court to testify, we are brought to the front, we place our hand on the Bible and we take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help us God” and once again, while we are relating things from our own perspective which may not contain absolutes, we are threatened with a penalty if our version somehow is disproved by the evidence.

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The Bible is not quite as generous at allowing for the shades of grey that truth (again that little word) seems to be colored with. From the earliest days of the Old Testament, the taking of an oath is mentioned several hundred times. An oath, or a promise to be truthful, was not yet part of the law but part of the morality we all were programmed with by God when we were created, and was evidenced as early as the days of Abraham, when God made His covenant with him!

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1. “To you and your descendants I will give the land of Canaan — from the river Nile to the river Euphrates — for an ‘everlasting’ possession.” (Gen 12:7; 13:15; 15:19; 17:8)
2. “I will make you a great nation, and multiply you exceedingly, and bless you so.” (Gen 12:2; 13:16; 17:2)
3. “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.” (Gen 12:3)
4. “Through your Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, for I will make you the ‘father’ of a multitude of nations.” (Gen 12:3; 17:5; 22:18)

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God always keeps His word to us and in return, He expects the truth (at least what our heart holds as the truth) from us! And while we may think that He doesn’t keep those promises because we do not see the evidence of them when we expect to, He does, all the same. It is just that his timing for the answer is a bit different. God’s clock is different from ours. We are an “I want it NOW” society composed of people who expect instant gratification. But remember God’s promises to Abraham? We know they did not occur in a time frame that would have been acceptable to people who live in the 21st century. But happen they did, in God’s timing for them to happen, as Abraham and Sarah welcomed Isaac at the advanced age of 90 and 100! And He will keep his promises to us as well but He does ask that we return to Him the same honesty He offers us with the promises we make to Him. He knows that the human race is mortal and as such, He knows our opinion of the truth (our truth) is subjective. But as long as we act toward Him with all the honesty that our hearts can hold, and with what we believe with every fiber of our being, I hope…..no I BELIEVE…..He is content with our gift!

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“When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.”

Numbers 30:2 (NIV)

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 03/27/12

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Speaking With “Forked” Tongue

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http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Touch-of-Heaven-On-Earth/178487215567906

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A half truth is a whole lie.

Yiddish Proverb

http://www.quotegarden.com/honesty.html

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We know what the phrase “speaks with a forked tongue” means and yet do we know how it originally came to be used in the United States? We inherited this “pearl of wisdom” from our Native American cultures who long ago used it to describe those either within their own tribe or a neighboring tribe who had deliberately lied and, therefore, was no longer worthy of being trusted. It seems to have been adopted in speaking about Caucasian people as a result of the French employing a tactic in the late 1600’s, during the French and Indian War, when they invited the Iroquois to attend a Peace Conference only to capture and kill the Native Americans.

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Today we use the very same expression but now we are often implying either some sort of hypocritical behavior or otherwise acting in a duplicitous manner. And often, because we are not exactly telling an outright falsehood, we think it is acceptable to say one thing but mean something entirely different. We see this everywhere. Just look at our politicking Presidential candidates. From listening to the vehemence that is often spewed about their opponent, you might just think the “other guy” was a spawn of Satan himself! But, we probably should not be surprised that our political system has somehow devolved to this level. Isn’t this what is predicted in the Bible? Are we not told that mankind will be reduced to uttering falsehoods where darkness will be called light and where evil becomes thought of as good and good thought of as evil?

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Those half-truths we speak are as common in today’s society as there are stars in the sky! And often, we have used these tactics ourselves so often that we can no longer discern what is truth and what is falsehood, even to ourselves! Do we really think before we speak to others? Are the words and ideas we share with others tinged with that subtle hint of grey? Are we somehow washing our thoughts the same way we wash a load of white laundry, in hot water and carelessly throwing that new ink black t-shirt in with the rest of the load?

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The forked tongue of man can be as deadly a weapon as is an atomic bomb! The one difference is that the destruction caused by the bomb is generally an eradication of all life forms within the area it is fired upon. Life under its assault ceases to exist as we know it. The death that can come by one speaking lies and half-truths is much more subtle. It is a death that results from the undermining of the very fabric of a person’s emotional makeup. It seeks to destroy not physical life but self-esteem. It breaks apart not the very ground we walk on but often the family unit and community that is our humanity. And it is often a death that we do not see coming until it is too late to negotiate a truce! Which leads me to wonder….in reality is the attack of the first worse that the attack of the second?

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5 So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6 And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence – and is set on fire by hell.  7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind.  8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:5-8 NET

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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2012 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 02/16/12

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Those Shades Of Grey
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Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind.
Austin O’Malley
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That “Little White Lie”!  It is something most of us are guilty of. How often has our response been to someone we love, when asked the question “Do I look fat in this?” to say something like, “You’ve never looked more beautiful!” More often than not, our response is to answer the question being asked of us in some shade of grey. Especially when we realize that to answer in black and white might just cause someone we love needless hurt or pain.  Therefore, we must consider the million dollar question for people of faith…. is there is ever a time for that “little white lie” in our life?
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Just ask most experts in the field of psychology and marriage counseling that question and you are apt to be told that the there are times when those shades of grey may actually decrease the amount of stress that is inevitable within the family dynamic.  However the time soon comes when we are forced to consider whether the thing we say in those shades is truly a harmless lie or a more serious lie. The issue at hand becomes so much more subjective at this point, often enlarging that grey area to the point where it is like slapping a band-aid on some hemorrhaging wound.
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Perhaps it is this reason that we, as people of faith, are asked not to tell lies. It is an imperative so profound that God, by His own hand, engraved it into stone. It is what He expects of us, especially for Christians, who are directed to live lives by Christ’s example. For it is only when people choose to embrace those things which are truths, can we ask of others to hear what we say and know that we speak the truth. We can go to sleep at night with a clear conscience knowing that we were truthful. And, perhaps as important, telling the truth reflects on our character as people, which is something most of us want to be good….as well we should. Because it is our character that follows our every step, every day in our lives and is certainly, something that is closely looked at by the others we encounter.
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Is this road easy? Absolutely not. It is very easy to be tempted and fall into the lap of sin. But it is also something we must work at. And it is very hard work! Life isn’t easy. People aren’t easy. And sometimes we just want to take the easy way out. But knowing what it is that is expected of us, and remembering what the rewards will be at the end of our journey through life, might just make our efforts in this direction a bit easier!

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 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

Luke 16:10 (NIV)

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A very Happy Birthday wish to my baby sister, Melissa. I hope it’s a great Birthday for you!

Mandy & Melissa
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http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2012 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC