March 27, 2012
Why do people lie? That question is probably older than time itself. People seem to lie for a variety of reasons. I’ve heard people admit to lying because it was “just too complicated” to tell the truth. Letting that simple white lie out of our mouths is sometimes much easier than having to tell the truth, answer a bunch of questions about it, and perhaps commit to many minutes or hours of discussion on the topic. Why not just let out a little lie and simplify everything? Sure, it is expedient at times to lie about a situation.
Another reason people lie is that they are afraid the truth might require revealing something about themselves that they are afraid to share. We spend so much time trying to control people’s perception of us, preventing others from learning something about us that would make them think we are not all that we claim to be. Perhaps someone might learn some dark little secret about us we don’t want them to know. Again, why not just tell a little lie so we don’t have to let people get too close to who we really are? Yes, we can definitely hide our little imperfections and dark sides by conveniently lying about them.
I’ve also heard that people lie in order to control others. If I just spin this little lie, maybe I can gain an advantage over my co-worker for that promotion. Or, by telling this small lie I can appear to know something that others do not know and therefore appear to be the expert. In these situations, lying becomes a way to “get ahead in life” by making myself appear better or by making others appear worse. Why shouldn’t I be looking out for myself, right? Certainly, if I don’t look out for myself, no one will look out for me. Either way, lying is a way of controlling other people’s lives for my own benefit.
In one of my favorite movie quotes of all time, Jack Nicholson, the brash, well-decorated Colonel from “A Few Good Men” responds to defense attorney Tom Cruise’s cross examination in a surprising and memorable way. When Tom Cruise demands over and over, “I just want the truth!” Jack Nicholson replies with that famous line, “You want the truth? Well, you can’t handle the truth!”
Well, in fact “you CAN handle the truth!” And not only can you handle it, but others can as well. Open, honest communication not only brings healing to relationships but it also builds bridges over chasms that have formed between individuals, organizations, and even nations. You will also find that telling the truth simplifies life and helps to build self-esteem, self-confidence, and an overall better opinion of oneself. Try it and see!
Remember when Peter lied, and denied Christ three times? Wow, how he must have felt. We know he would have wanted to rewind life and get a second chance at that decision. How about you? How many lies do you wish you could take back? How many truths?
So, today, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to tell that little white lie, for whatever reason, resist that urge and just tell the truth. Be careful not to use the truth as a weapon, or to make someone feel hurt, but instead think of and behave like Jesus, the Ultimate Truth. Prayerfully seek the Father’s guidance and fully commit to a life of living like Jesus, the Ultimate Truth. Your decision, so choose well.
Heavenly Father, my desire today is to live a life of honesty and integrity in my words and in my actions. I confess that I have lied, not only to myself, but to my friends and family members willingly and for reasons that I thought were valid and justified. However, today, Father, I want to turn a new page on my life and wish to live for the truth. Give me the courage I need to be honest and speak the truth in love, and allow me the wisdom and the patience to deal with the complexities this may cause. Help me always to be honest and authentic as I attempt to live like Your son, the Ultimate Truth, who lives and reigns with You in heaven now and forever. In His name I pray; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:16-17
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14