Sunday, June 18, 2017


My brother and I sometimes missed curfews, were guilty of wrongdoing, or just felt guilty because we were. We knew that when Mom or Dad confronted us, we had better get our stories straight! Indeed, even when a crime is committed one technique the police use is separate interviews with the suspects to get their account of events. Usually, they confess when confronted with the fact that their stories don't match up. When confronted, they usually, and very quickly, develop anther narrative. Given that they have more than one narrative implies guilt.

Narratives are not always lies but are well-pieced together stories to make sure all aspects are covered. Even the innocent don't want to trip up, so they spend and inordinate amount of time ensuring that their story is straight. Liars have to spend even more time to get their stories convincing, and in harmony with the story of another.

This is the era of narratives. There are people in public life whose job is creating narratives, and rehearsing them before they are publicized. Usually the stories are not wholly true, but cleaned up versions of what really happened. The most notable recent narrative was the blame of a film for the Benghazi killings. In that case, there was coincidentally a film, but it was not the cause of the killings. The producer of that amateur video which few had even seen was blamed and arrested quickly for another violation.

In the first few days, the narrative was repeated so many times that it seemed to be rehearsed. The general public, the media, and even the government all heard that same story. The existence of the film was not a lie, it's ability to incite violence was not a lie, but the big lie was it was not what incited the violence. Because confidants told the real story in confidence, the narrative fell apart. Hillary apparently told Chelsea another true version, and it caught up with her. Also, research showed no cause and effect between the film and the violence. It was a palpable narrative. Many believed it. Some doubted but with repetition it almost became truth.

In fact, some person of notoriety said, "I heard a new version of the truth and I did all I can to further it!"  Truth is finite. There is one version, and that is the facts. False versions are derived from either misapplied facts or falsehoods. The world is so full of false narratives right now that the truth is somewhere deep down, maybe buried forever. Fake news has finally been exposed. Sometimes it merely exaggerates the story, tells it out of context, is biased, or is spun. Children are quick to spin stories, and the press and politicians are indeed as the little children! (I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind though when he encouraged that).

My own awakening to false narratives was regarding the Civil War. I grew up in Indiana and was taught the winner's version because the victor does write history. However, over the years, I read first-hand accounts which reduced the biasness of the story. In other words, I read the loser's history and compared the two, and discovered what I had been taught as fact was merely a false narrative. Of course much of it was true, but much wasn't. As time went by, the victor's version of truth became ultimate truth, and now most people are in harmony with that narrative. I don't care who won the war or who freed the slaves. I only care that the war has ended, and the slaves have been freed. What I do expect, though, is the truth about how it came about. Truth is hard to sieve from all the falsehoods, especially when those deceptions created heroes who don't deserve the accolades.

Soon Alexander Hamilton will be replaced by a law-breaker on the twenty-dollar bill. That bothers me because the underground railroad did not respect the law, yet the lawbreaker will be on currency. We have listened to the narrative that breaking laws with which we disagree is noble, but Jesus never ever encouraged disrespect for authority. I suppose that it's time to have a woman and a minority on currency as a show of respect, but we need to be careful who it is. One that helped the criminal John Brown, who was hanged for his lawbreaking, doesn't seem to be a good choice. Perhaps George Washington Carver would be a better choice for more general acceptance. The narrative circumvents that choice.

The ultimate narrative is the story that we have prepared for God! We know our nature, but on a daily basis, we create a cleaner narrative. Narratives of sinners, even Christian sinners because we do still sin, is concocted with excuses. In each of our minds our two very different people: (1) one that is willing but fails miserable, and the other that (2) just wills to fail. I say that because every time that we sin, it's a choice until we peak out - that's when we sin as a lifestyle and without ever being convicted of our sins. When people reach that point they approach reprobation.
Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..."
They who are without excuse are sinners. Even those who have never heard the truth, look at the creation, and must seek truth! The narrative right now, and it is accepted as fact, that the universe evolved. This passage points to the creation as truth which men must seek, but then even enlightened men accept the lie of evolution. That's the scientific narrative, which even fails scientific tests, but that's the story that all the world tells. In effect, they imply that Christians have a liar God, and those Christians who accept the narrative agree as they say, "Yes, we do!" That's because the world has accepted a false narrative!

My narrative that I practice often is: "I'm not so bad. Even Paul had a thorn in the flesh, and sometimes lose to temptation." Do you suppose God will buy into that narrative? He will think: "Poor excuse, Larry - you chose to sin." The only valid narrative that I have is: "God have mercy on me, a weak sinner who failed you!" There is no other narrative that He will honor because any good that I did is as filthy rags to Him. All He wanted was my love and obedience which I never gave Him His due.

True narratives are honesty to oneself, others, and God. We all wish that the narrative Me was in harmony with the real Me, but most often, that's not the case. I sometimes say, "If people could read my mind they would scream!" because at times my mind thinks hateful and awful things. Our assignment is to control our thoughts, and make our life more than a false narrative. 

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