Last year there was a news report about a taxi driver in La Plata Argentina who had spent 3 days searching for an elderly couple who had left $25,000 in his taxi. When his eventually successful search and return of the money came to the attention of the Argentinian public through a website set up in his honour by some business acquaintances, hundreds of people sent in messages of appreciation and donations of money amounting to $15,000. People said in their messages that they wished there were more people like him. For those used to corruption at all levels of society this was clearly an extraordinary story. Dishonesty is endemic in all societies and sadly we are all prone to it – from the proverbial “man in the street” to investment bankers and to politicians. We feel indignation when we see it in others and guilt when we face up to it in ourselves. In contrast honesty is both refreshing and attractive. It is like a light shining in darkness and it rarely gets the publicity which the taxi driver’s action so deservedly received.
Alexander Solzenhitsyn once said “one word of truth will conquer the whole world” and we might add to that one honest deed. Was that wishful thinking on the part of someone who had lived in the entanglement of big brother state sponsored lies or was it justifiable faith in the ability of truth to shine through the darkness? Honesty and truth are inextricably intertwined and we long to see more of them don’t we? Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven….” and whether or not we are disciples of Jesus, when we pray these words we are asking among other things for more acts of honesty and truth telling.
How often do we really think what we are asking for when we use the words of this prayer? It is so easy to rattle off the “Our Father” in a ritual way, without thinking what is being asked for. The taxi driver’s action was a real answer to this prayer. For that matter how well do we know God? The opening statement of the prayer is an acknowledgement of dependence and need, as of a child to a loving parent. That God can be known with that level of intimacy is amazing. The next time we pray the Lord’s prayer, let’s think about what we are asking for …more acts of honesty, more truth telling and above all, more child like trust in the God and Father of Jesus Christ.
Noel McCune is a Child Psychiatrist, recently retired from the NHS. In 2006 he jointly authored the report on the review of Child Mental Health Services in Northern Ireland, commissioned by the Dept of Health. He is an evangel person in the reformed tradition.
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