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The Simplicity of Breathing

May 7th, 2009

Focus Passage: Proverbs 14: 5 (NLT)

5 An honest witness does not lie;
      a false witness breathes lies.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I love simplicity.  The sheer pleasure of reclining in green grass on a sunny day.  A freshly peeled orange eaten in bed while watching Heroes.  A walk in the neighborhood with my wife and with my little girl contentedly riding in her stroller (my little girl, that is.)  A three-mile run in an downtown area that you are unfamiliar with.  Fresh seafood eaten at a restaurant positioned over the water at a beachside destination.  One-hundred and six thousand orange and while clad fans rising as one to cheer their football team as it runs through the “power T” of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band at Neyland Stadium.

Simple can be great.  So, when scripture offers a simple statement of truth upon which to reflect, we shouldn’t just skip over it.  How many days do we scurry along to each of our life’s demands without even one pause to gaze at the beauty of the sky above . . . or how easy is it to rush through a stressful day without taking time to laugh instead of cry when the baby spits up all over our freshly ironed shirt?  

The simple things are usually the very things we miss later . . . by miss, I mean think back fondly on.  After going to college, the realization sets in that those few moments shared with parents and siblings over a simple breakfast on an average day’s morning were some of the best of times.  Simple.  Wonderful.  Missable.  

Such is also true of God’s wisdom: sometimes we can easily miss (meaning we don’t notice them) that which appears to be the most simple.  Just consider this passage: “An honest witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies.”  Doesn’t get any simpler than this.  The temptation would be to do exactly what we do when we drive past the same lake each day on the way to work without even taking in a glimpse of its beauty.  We simply keep driving.  Keep working.  Keep moving.  Keep surviving.

The first half of the verse stands on its own.  Honesty means no lying.  Simple; yet complicated.  It is on a weekly . . . if not a daily basis that I deal with this issue among the current Millennial generation.  Most of them would consider themselves “honest”, yet bending the truth or even changing it is commonplace.  For self-preservation.  Excused because of another’s negative actions.  A knee-jerk reaction to shield oneself from the blow of reality and consequences.  Whatever the reason, we need to listen and implement this most simple statement of truth: an honest person does not lie.  Period.

The second half of the passage opens up many other avenues of thought.  My brain immediately goes to the specific imagery created by the phrase “breathes lies.”  To breath something is to inhale and exhale it.  It is to be saturated in the atmosphere of a certain substance to the point that it fills one’s lungs.  Breathing is involuntary.  It happens naturally.  We breath what is in the air around us . . . we have no choice.

Taking that viewpoint, we begin to see that lying is about the atmosphere that a person dwells in.  Lying is often a result of something inhaled . . . whether a lax culture who doesn’t consider honesty to be a crucial matter . . . or even an environment where within lying is commonplace and tolerated.  No matter what the reason, lying can get into our lungs . . . eventually being exhaled from somewhere deep within with no forethought.  Simply put, it can become natural to us . . . even involuntary.

The answer?  First of all, know the simple truth about honesty and lying.  Secondly, it may be time for a spiritual, pulmonary procedure . . . literally a cleaning out of the airways in our hearts and lives have become commonplace to our routine.  Exhale the old and inhale the new.  Reposition ourselves in the clean environments where the air is honest and pure.  That way, we know what’s going in and we can accurately predict what will eventually come out.

Simple.  Clean.  True.  






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