This morning at breakfast, Stan and I decided that we would talk to Michaela and Caleb about some of the events of 9-11. As we were telling the story, Stan said “There were some really mean people who told themselves lies and decided to believe them.” The story went on, as you all know, but I was stuck on that sentence. I couldn’t shake it loose. Immediately, Hitler came to mind as well. (I studied WW-II history in Normandy, France my last semester of college and one of the things that I took away from that study abroad was how powerful lies are. All those years later, I was still walking around and seeing and touching the devastation that continues to ripple from the lies one man told himself.) Then I thought about everyday lies and the damage that they bring. I have lost friendships and time with people over lies that they either were told or told themselves…and decided to believe. I could add so many examples of horrendous lies to the list: Eve and the serpent, Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife, Jacob, Ananias and Sapphira…want more recent and tangible examples that were far reaching? Ok: The Clinton/Lewinsky Affair, Watergate, Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, Cuban Missile Crisis…the list goes on.
Think of the figurative prisons that people (possibly even you) are living in because of the lies they believe: I am fat, I am not worthy, I don’t matter, They’d be better off without me, One time won’t matter, She’ll never find out, It only affects me, He will change, I can control it, I’m so far gone that a little farther doesn’t matter, God won’t want me, “Those” people are inferior, I’m really protecting him/her, I can stop anytime, No one will ever know, I’ll start tomorrow…All lies break us and create barriers. (Speaking of creating barriers, do you know what happened the day that construction of the Berlin Wall began? (August 13, 1961) The German communist leader Walter Ulbricht told this whopper: “Nobody has the intention of building a wall.”)
What I am getting at this morning, is that there are deadly and serious consequences to lies that we tell and lies that we choose to believe. Why? It’s just a lie…right? Well, when we think of who our Jesus is and how he described himself, I think we find our answer: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NIV) Do you hear what accompanies the truth? The way…the life…I want that! But when I tell lies, I am distancing myself from the source of life…I am embracing being lost and pursuing death.
So, how are you doing with this? Are you being truthful with the people you interact with? Do you excuse your lies by referring to them as kindness, little white lies, or fibs? Are you violating your conscience when you interact with people? Do you have people in your life who are lying to you? How can you lovingly approach them? Here is the kicker: Are you lying to yourself? Are you reiterating damaging untruths about others or yourself in your own head? Are you creating stories in your own mind and re-telling them so often that you begin to believe them? This is not harmless. This is not healthy. (This is how Hitler started…this is how 9-11 began.)
My prayer today is that we will all take our lies seriously…that we would bring them to light…that we would embrace truth and life and, out of that, lovingly share truth and life with others. And I am praying that we would be honest with ourselves so that we may grow closer in relationship with others and with God. Much love friends,