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So help me God!

In our culture today, we equate being "under oath" with having sworn to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We used to add the words, "so help me God", as we held our hands on a copy of the Bible. Society found this offensive and "intolerant" of the various religions of the world, so gradually this has been "phased out" of many courtrooms as the foundation upon which our testimony may be judged as "factual". The mouth that lies under oath differs from the tongue that lies in that it is associated with the giving of a testimony or acting as a witness either for or against someone. Scripture also reminds us that God hates a false scale (in other words, being dishonest in business affairs). God expects his kids to live as model citizens in a society that may not have very many good role models and a whole lot of rule breakers. 

Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

In God's economy, our word is our oath - he hears each and every word we speak and holds us accountable for the testimony we bear by those words. The term "so help me God" is a telling term. Think about it - if we truly speak these terms when giving an oath, we are asking God to actually help us tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth (help me God). We don't want to miss a fact that would be pertinent to a fair judgment and we don't want to embellish a fact that would change the course of the dispute - neither of these would be right. Whenever we are called to give a "testimony", we need to think upon these words and ask God to help us be "solid" in our testimony - keeping us from bearing any falsehood in our testimony so only the truth shines forth - regardless of where or when we are called upon for that 'telling of truth'.

One further characteristic that is outlined in this passage is labeled as the one thing that God loathes with a passion. To make this perfectly clear, this is not the simple dislike of a certain behavior - it carries the idea of the behavior being so repulsive that it turns the stomach. God loathes a troublemaker in the family. It is important to keep in mind that God looks beyond genetic lines to define family. He defines his children as family, and his Body as the Church. The destructiveness of one member of the family affects the outcome for the entire family. That is why God loathes a troublemaker in the family - their behavior crosses the line that is meant to hold us together, even in the worst of times.

God's view of these seven "not so good" character traits is one of dislike and disgust. He wants a holy temple in which to dwell - a temple that accurately reflects his goodness and grace. In evaluating these seven characteristics this past week, we may have found certain behavioral tendencies that are sometimes reflected in our lives that we definitely need the Holy Spirit to work on. If some of these traits have been touched upon that ring true as being evident in your life, remember that God always honors the prayer, "so help me God"! He stands at the ready to transform the life that is willing to be transformed - the life that cries out and leans 'into' his grace. Just sayin!

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