Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ezekiel 13:22 -- On Truth and Deception and Happy Endings

"Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:"
Ezekiel 13:22

In this verse God is explaining why he is delivering his people, speaking to the people who he is delivering them from.  I think it is instructive for us, because in life, as in the scriptures, sometimes God needs to explain to us why we screwed up.  We don't always notice at first what we're doing wrong, and we need to become aware before we can fix it and repent.  And here are a couple of subtle things that we don't always get.  Making the heart of the righteous sad, and strengthening the hands of the wicked.

I took a Mormon Literature class once, and in the class one of the authors that came to talk to us made an impression on me by explaining why her books always had happy endings.  She said that she thought it was deceptive and wrong to teach her readers that evil wins, because that isn't the way that things work.  Sure, bad things can happen along the way, and life is hardly easy... but the eventual happy ending is certain, because God is in charge.  I'm sure she didn't say it in those exact words, but I've always remembered that idea, because it struck me as deeply true.  We go through a lot of ups and downs in life, and sometimes we can't actually see the hope, but even if we can't see it, we know that with God there is always a happy ending... and pretending otherwise can be a deception.

I think that this scripture reminds me of that experience because that's what we do sometimes, without realizing it.  We discourage the righteous and uphold the wicked.  Sometimes we're just trying to write a story, or support a friend, or do our jobs.  Sometimes we're trying to choose the lesser of two evils, or finding ways to accept something because it comes as part of the political party package, or the educator package, or the medical professional package, or whatever it is we do or participate it... there are often different values in different areas.  Maybe today we should take a step back from all of those external influences and make sure that we're not upholding evil in any way.  Let's make sure that we're not setting a bad example or making the heart of the righteous sad.  Let's make sure the values that we learn from God trump the floating values of any other part of our lives.  Let's trust and believe in the happy ending, and always tell that truth, making the hearts of the righteous happy, and never supporting evil.

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