I love mysteries.
I have at least a dozen plots written on paper or computer of mystery novels that I had intended to write. (I never say never!)
There have been many great mystery writers but the one I always pick for the ‘greatest’ is Agatha Christie. I loved Agatha because she took every day people and ripped the mask off of them to uncover the reality beneath. I was thinking about today’s Commandment and immediately knew how I wanted to tie my thoughts together by linking this with Dame Agatha.
Exodus 20:16–Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
All of us wear some type of mask at times. Were we to allow every emotion or feeling we were experiencing to show, I don’t think we would survive. Agatha was no slouch at telling it like it is…just look at some of her titles: ‘Evil Under the Sun’, ‘A Murder is Announced’, ‘And Then There Were None’. She informs the reader up front that where we are going. Her detectives have their idiosyncrasies as well. Miss Marple knits. Hercule Poriot has his famous mustache. Every village has a war hero and a gossip. Yes, Dame Agatha drew from real life.
One of her favorite efforts for me was the famous ‘Witness for the Prosecution.’ In this story, a lawyer is tempted away from retirement to take on the defense of a man accused of killing an older woman for money. His wife becomes a witness for the prosecution rather than the defense surprising the lawyer and court. Having been told that the jury will never believe the alibi of a wife defending her husband, she creates an entire scenario of forged letters which then discredits her testimony against her husband. You see, she KNOWS her husband is guilty but wants to get him off via the legal ‘double jeopardy’ defense.
In other words, she lies under oath against herself!
The old adage of ‘tangled webs when we first deceive’ is a well-known one. Every day we go into the world full of promise…but sometimes our tongues get us into trouble whether through an intent or accident. Sometimes, we knowingly lie to friends, neighbors, family, strangers, or loved ones.
By doing so, we are not solely lying to them…we are lying to ourselves. We witness for our ‘Prosecutor/Satan’ who longs to do nothing more than entrap us into sin.
Thankfully, Christ is our advocate. His blood provides our acquittal.
He knows we are guilty but loved us enough to provide the evidence against us as having no weight under the law! What Love. What grace. What a Savior!
If you have not seen the movie ‘Witness for the Prosecution’, do yourself a favor and do so. It is an excellent film and the ending (even if you know it is coming) makes you gasp.