Meditation on Zechariah 8:16 – 17
By Lenny Cacchio
These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another; make true and sound decisions within your gates. Do not plot evil in your hearts against your neighbor, and do not love perjury, for I hate all this—this is the Lord’s declaration. (Zechariah 8: 16-17, Holman Christian Standard Bible)
God makes four mandates here:
- Speak truth to your neighbor.
- Make true and sound decisions in your gates, “gates” being the place where legal matters were settled.
- Do not plot evil in your hearts against your neighbor.
- Do not love perjury.
When I was reading those two verses, the state of my country’s political environment came to mind. Imagine for a second a political campaign where each and every candidate applied these four rules. Imagine further our governmental institutions living by those principles during their deliberations. Such a milieu seems like a pipe dream given our contemporary experiences, but surely if enacted our viewing of the evening news would no longer be an exercise in blood pressure management.
But the blame for this state of affairs cannot be placed entirely at the feet of those in the public square. They act the way they do for one reason: it works! We the People allow them to succeed when they act like SOB’s because we condone such behavior when it is our SOB’s who are doing it.
If We the People have a role in the incivility of our times, We the People must take the lead in reversing it.
Currently I serve on two commissions established by the city in which I live. Because these appointments are overseen by city officials the deliberations have the risk of becoming politically charged. I was gobsmacked personally when I stumbled across that passage in Zechariah, and I took that as a mandate to personally repudiate today’s standard practices in favor of the model of the Four Mandates, and to model it in such a way that it will appeal to the better angels of the other commissioners’ nature. We can still disagree, for disagree we must, but we can at least raise the level of discourse so necessary in a civil society.
In the one-man show Give ’em Hell, Harry , the newly inaugurated President Truman is depicted writing a letter to his daughter Margaret. The letter is likely fictional, but the sentiment is real:
And finally, Margaret, to be a good president I fear that a man cannot be his own mentor. He cannot live the Sermon on the Mount. He has to be a Machiavelli, a Caesar, a Borgia, an unctuous religio, a liar, a what-not to be successful. So I probably won’t be. But I’m having a lot of fun trying the opposite approach. Maybe it’ll win. Lots of love, Dad.
In a fallen culture where Machiavelli and Borgia are the virtual patron saints it will be fun to try this, whether it be in the coffee house, the White House, or City Hall.
Post Script: If you are wondering how the world would look if we practiced the Four Mandates of Zechariah 8, read that chapter in its entirety.
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Lenny Cacchio has a blog on the Bible Sabbath Association website. You can follow him at the following weblink: http://biblesabbath.org/index.php?pr=Lenny_Cacchio_Blog
This blog was originally posted on Saturday, February 20, 2016