We have all done it at some point in our lives; we have all justified the reasons why we have done it. We all have lied to someone about something. Hopefully, at this point in your life, you can say with confidence that lying is something you don't do anymore. If you were to say that, would you be lying?
Now I know that within the Christian context lying is not something we are supposed to do, and it is certainly not something we go around telling people we do. Not to mention it is something we are commanded on numerous occasions not to do. Then why is it so pervasive?
1. Self Preservation
In general, we want people to think we are smarter, healthier, more attractive, wealthier, and more successful in relationships and work than we are. Though on the surface we might all agree that we are human and everybody makes mistakes - we don't like to admit it when WE make them. So we bend and twist the truth (other words for lying) to cover up the small indiscretions, the imperfections, the mistakes. We know that to admit our mistakes might cost the trust of a friend or family member, it might cost us a business deal, or even our job.
2. Others Self Preservation
Many times the reason we shy away from the truth is to spare the harm it may cause someone else. What husband has not been put in that dreadful position of having to answer this question from his wife, "How do I look in this?", knowing the truth would hurt his wife's feelings? Many of the lies we tell, we would argue, are actually for the benefit of others. We can easily convince ourselves of our pure intentions and justify lying to make us feel relatively altruistic.
The question we don't often ask is “how can I be a person of integrity, of honesty, and yet be truthful about who I am and be honest to those around me?” I would push it one step further and ask, "How does God want me to reflect His truth in how I live?"
This question is the first of a four-part series on what we can do to be people who reflect the truth of God in the reality of our everyday lives. Next week we will explore the first of three action steps to counteract our tendency to drift towards self or others preservation and move towards living truth-filled lives.