Jesus says to me, "Do not bear false witness." How quickly I agree with my friend, "I have observed this since my youth."
And in the pause that follows, I sink into the love in His eyes and begin to see as He sees and feel the wounds that He feels. Wounds that I have inflicted upon another, the least of these, landing on Him.
Those times, those many times, when I have gone beyond the required yes or no, to fill the space with reasons and rationalizations as unnecessary as they are untrue. Words used to soften and explain falsely, making no one better off for their having been spoken.
Words used to wound, to strike back, to defend, to shift attention, to blame, to hurt - without regard for truth, only for impact. The claws of a cornered ego shredding perceived attackers without a moment's thought or hesitation.
A silence leaving a wrong impression. A laugh instead of a denial. A conspiratorial nod giving agreement when correction and defense is needed, is demanded by the truth. A convenient, self-serving, silence that lies.
The sharing of a story without regard for whether it is true or not - a story that colors the opinion of another, a story that, like all stories, lingers long after the telling. A cluster bomb of gossip.
The embellishments, designed to display my cleverness, my quick wittedness, my brilliance. Just not my truthfulness. Truth takes a back seat to momentary impression. More important, to me, what you think than what He thinks.
"Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh upon me. Search my heart for all of the secret ways and hidden sins which I can barely acknowledge even when I see them in the mirror. Give me the courage to lift them up. Cleanse the poisons by your sweet, healing, soothing, Presence."