The Necessary First Step

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Last week we began a 4 part series on honesty, lying, and how we can reflect the truth of God in our everyday lives. We started by looking at two prominent reasons why we lie: 1.) Self Preservation 2.) Others Self Preservation. Our self-preservation is focused on covering up the things that might make us look bad. Others self-preservation hides from others what might hurt them in some way. 

Seeing the prevalence of our dishonesty helps us to see where to start - admitting to ourselves, we have not been honest. We will be tempted to overlook the value of this first step, tempted to diminish the truth about how untruthful we are. How we address our lack of honesty creates clarity about our sinfulness and our natural reluctance to admit we are lying in the first place. This exposes the very nature of sin, a sin that has separated us from God, and a sin that from the very beginning was introduced through...wait for it, a lie. 

Now, this is going to get dark for a second, so bear with me. The devil, Lucifer, the chief adversary of God, is called the father of lies by Jesus in John 8:44.  When addressing the religious leaders of His day, He said, "For you are the children of your father, the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies." Jesus made a big deal about this whole lying business, and the fact that we minimize it illuminates a powerful reality - lying is the devil's way, not the way of Jesus. We too often flirt with, give in to, placate to, and minimize our alignment with the devil and his schemes. 

Reflecting the truth of God in our everyday life starts first with admitting to ourselves, we are not always honest. Now here is the hard part - to start looking in your daily life for areas where you are not totally, 100%, without any hesitation, without any justification, brutally, and totally honest, is difficult and not something we will naturally do.  I had this moment just this past week as I was standing in the kitchen helping to make dinner with my wife. As I stood there, staring blankly at the stovetop, stirring a skillet filled with our uncooked dinner, I wrestled deeply with this idea. Mostly I just compartmentalized and justified why I didn't need to confess to my wife that I had lied. Within a few minutes, the pressure became too much, so I blurted out abruptly, "Honey, I lied to you today." My wife turned to me with a puzzled look on her face and asked, "What do you mean?" I replied, "Remember that story I told you about how this morning I was attacked by two wasps while letting the dogs out, and how I darted inside, grabbed the flyswatters, and then killed them?" "Yeah," she shrugged questioningly, "I think I only killed one, not two," I said with a strange level of conviction. She smiled with a breath of relief and said with a hint of curiosity, "OK." I then launched into an explanation of how the past few months, I had been wrestling through the letter of 1 John. The author calls things like they are, and more times than not is calling people liars. I explained how that has got me thinking a lot about how much we are or aren't being honest. You might be just like me and start to argue for degrees of lying, shades of truth, appropriate confession, justifying things like, "What difference does it make whether it was one or two wasps? That is so insignificant; you can't be serious?" It's at that point we begin to determine in our minds, and by our standards, what lie or truth is relevant. We become the judge about how far any deviation from that truth needs confession. Ultimately, we begin to position ourselves as judge of right or wrong, truth or lie. 

I didn't hear Jesus say anything about the devil not being the father of little, tiny, seemingly insignificant lies. There emerges within the scope and teaching of Jesus, the apostles, and the scriptures as a whole, that any derivation from the standards set by God is sin, false, antiGod, the wrong way, the way of destruction. Has that path to destruction become standard for many of us? Has it become mainstream? Has it become acceptable

So regardless of what side of the debate you might land on, despite the various ways we justify and capitulate, we might all agree that lying is wrong and not God's desire for any of us. The starting place for many of us is simply admitting it.

These are uncomfortable questions to answer, but an area we will continue to push in to, both in our current sermon series "Prove It," and also in our next two Inside Forums.

-Bradley