The other day, I watched two crime stories on TV. In one, the key evidence was the suspect’s DNA. In the other, a witness would not give key evidence because he had signed an NDA. For those of you who don’t recognize those shorthand acronyms, DNA is an abbreviation of the name (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) of the microscopic structures that contain the genetic code in every cell of every living thing, plant or animal. In Crime Scene Investigations, this is often the way a suspect is positively identified as the perpetrator. On the other hand, NDA stands for a Non-Disclosure Agreement signed by partners in a marriage or by employees in some secretive industries. In civil lawsuits they are often obstacles to uncovering some basic facts relevant to a trial’s outcome. 

DNA and NDA; rearrange the letters and they have the opposite meaning. DNA reveals the truth; NDA conceals the truth. 

As I wrote a tentative title for this article, I realized how (unintentionally) clever I was: “DNA AND NDA” –the same three letters three times. At this point, I couldn’t stop myself, and I made it “DAN’s DNA AND NDA” (I couldn’t find a way to make the ‘s disappear). 

So, DAN’s life involves a complex mixture of DNA AND NDA. He is who he is and does what he does because of the generations of ancestors, the situations they faced and the choices they made. To a large extent, he’s predestined to be who he is and do what he does by the DNA he’s inherited. As the Psalmist put it in his prayer (paraphrased),

It was you who formed DAN’s inward parts;
you knit him together in his mother’s womb.
DAN praises you, for he is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that DAN knows very well.
His frame was not hidden from you when he was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld his unformed substance.
[DAN’s DNA was expressing itself in his physical makeup.]
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for him,
when none of them as yet existed.
[DAN’s DNA was expressing itself in his life behavior.]
(Psalm 139:13-16)

As for DAN’s NDAs, Jesus had this to say about them: 

“Nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed,
nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.”
(Luke 7:17)
“Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered
and nothing secret that will not become known.
Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be
proclaimed from the housetops.” (Luke 12:2-3)

One of the men Jesus called to be his disciple was Nathaniel. I’m going to take the liberty of spelling his name as “Nadaniel” so I can nickname him “NAD.” His friend Philip told him about “Jesus of Nazareth” who showed evidence of being the expected Messiah. NAD said, somewhat sarcastically, “Can anything good come out of Nazereth?” Rather than being offended by the regional put-down, Jesus, surprisingly, praised him with these words: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” (John 1:43-47) 

“No guile,” no hypocrisy, no deception, no manipulation, no NDAs. NAD had a prejudice against people who came from Jesus’ neighborhood, and he was upfront about it. Jesus respected that and welcomed him into his band of imperfect disciples. Jesus loves people who are just themselves, with no pretense, even if that can be a little rough.

– – Pastor George Van Alstine