Author: Pastor Mike Gutzler
This past week we got to enjoy the story of the second presentation of the ten commandments to the Israelites. For those who may not know, Moses provides the ten commandments to the Israelites just after they have escaped slavery in Egypt – found in Exodus. And then, the second presentation is to the second and third generation of Israelites after they have spent forty years in the wilderness – found in Deuteronomy.
As much fun as it would be to go into the depths of each of the commandments here, it might be worth taking an alternative approach to the text based on a book that recently crossed my desk (if you are looking for a good explanation of the ten commandments, see Luther’s Small Catechism.) The book is titled Everybody Lies.
Everybody Lies is about one of my favorite topics, Big Data. The subtitle, Big Data, New, Data and What the Internet Can Tell us About Who We Really Are, suggests that if we look to the countless number of data points collected in our daily lives we will find new truths about ourselves that we won’t admit publicly.
The author goes into detail about how inaccurate surveys can be because people are still trying to protect themselves or their image and therefore won’t be completely honest. But, when we are alone and on the internet, our inhibitions disappear and we are our more authentic selves. If we look into what our behavior looks like online, we will quickly realize we are all liars in the end. What we say and what we do are two different things.
I will not go into some of the more creeping findings in the book, as well as some of the amazing tools out there to track and understand these limitless data points, but I will point out that the book makes us a Christians realize that both we and our neighbors are very flawed beings. We lie because we cannot often handle the truth about ourselves.
What this says to me, and hopefully to you, is we need more grace than we realize. When Luther talked about the ten commandments, he talked about there being two sides to every commandment: the things we should not do, but also the things we should do. When we take both into consideration we quickly realize we do not have the capacity to follow any commandments and thus fall very short of God’s expectations. How wonderful then is it to hear we have a God of love that looks upon us with grace and forgiveness.
May you have a moment this week of authenticity, catching yourself in a lie, and be reminded of God’s grace and love for you.