As a child, there were times when the seriousness of what I said was best followed by “cross my heart and hope to die.” Even though I was insistent, I knew that “hope to die” was probably over dramatic – I never thought my life would be required. Nevertheless, truth is fundamental to us all, and children understand the importance of being taken at their word.
My favorite playmate as a boy was my cousin Greg Terrell who lived across the road from my house. We grew up along Louisiana Highway 488 just past the cattle guard that marked the edge of Kisatchie National Forest. The land had been owned and farmed by our family for four generations.
Greg is the youngest of eight children. I am the youngest in my family. We are the same age, born only weeks apart. We could be seen together romping and playing most afternoons. Some Saturdays we spent the day together.
Greg’s mom, Aunt Dale, made the best biscuits, and they were even made better by the fresh butter and cane syrup I bathed them in. This particular day would be one of those all-day
Saturdays. After breakfast and before heading outside, Greg and I sat beside each other laughing at a sampling of cartoons watched on the family’s large black and white console television.
“Remember, you two are coming with me to grocery shop,” Aunt Dale reminded as the screen door slammed behind us. We weren’t too excited about missing out on playtime just to ride in a car nearly thirty minutes one way into town. But we were promised lunch at the new Burger Chef. The restaurant had just begun selling kids’ meals with a toy.
Until then, we ran around the yard chasing chickens. We checked on the new baby pigs and finally ended up in the freshly plowed field tossing red dirt clods at each other.
Sitting beneath an old white oak, we stopped to catch our breath. We sat in silence until Greg said, “You’re my best friend.” I shook my head in agreement, “You’re my best friend, too.”
I promised Greg that I would be his friend forever. Cross my heart.
Greg thought the moment merited us to pledge our friendship through a “blood oath.” He had seen the ritual in a movie he and his brother Richard had watched.
Taking his well-sharpened pen knife from his pocket, he opened it and made a small slit on the tip of his index finger. He then handed me the knife and I did the same. We took our fingers and pressed them together, holding them in place. Now our blood was mingled and we would forever be brothers, not just cousins. We were now bound to be truthful and loyal to each other forever.
Crossing your heart or making a blood oath carries with it a pledge to truth. It amplifies one’s sincerity.
Truth is important, more so now than ever. It remains essential in growing strong families and communities. Truth is the basis of all fidelity. From truth, trust becomes the glue connecting people here and throughout the world to accomplish good. Everything worth anything springs from truth.
Yet, truth is under assault. Lies are being judged as truth and truth is being judged as lies. Jesus was judged by those who were dedicated to lies. But He proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Then, He crossed His heart and gave His life.
Truth does not originate from a secular source. It is not something that comes from the heart of man, only from the heart of God. Study scripture, profess Him, grasp hold to His truth, and with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, live for Jesus.