No More Lies!

If you thought I had ranted before….

Remember the old childhood ditty? Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Or maybe you remember the awful little song made from Revelation 21:8? Revelation, Revelation, 21:8, 21:8, liars go to hell, liars go to hell, burn, burn, burn–burn, burn, burn….

I can’t stand to be lied to.

By a child.

By an adult.

By a government official.

And yet, we live in a culture fueled by lies.

This could easily–given my politics–turn into a political rant. I personally despise the lying hypocrisy we get from local, state, and federal government.

But, that’s not what this is about.

Lying.

I hate it.

How many lies are we told everyday by popular media and advertising? Buy this brand toothpaste and your sex life is going to be off the charts!

On a blog about grief, life, faith and finding yourself again, I just had to bring up sex. Bet you didn’t think we’d get there, did you?

But it’s true. Everything you can think of buying gets tied to sex. The other day my twelve year old stepson wanted to watch a movie we rented and deleted twenty minutes later. It was awful.

Really awful, and we were right to refuse him permission to watch.

But he kept asking about it. Finally I said “Do you know what adult situations mean in a movie?” His answer? “Yes, I see the commercials about every 15 minutes when I am watching TV.”

It’s funny… But it’s not. A whole generation of kids have been lied to. They think sex is somehow tied to people sitting outside in separate bath tubs!

Woo Hoo! Bring on the fun!

Don’t get me wrong. No prudes here.

But lying is systemic in our culture. We are so accustomed to it we don’t even get offended, bothered, or even all that surprised when we recognize it for what it is.

I guarantee that everybody reading this blog and everybody who will never read it or even know it exists is a liar.

There I said it. Don’t get defensive. Hold off judgment for just a minute, please.

Maybe you haven’t lied to your spouse today or your boss or neighbor or kids. Good for you. The day is not over yet.

But you will lie to somebody. Most likely to yourself if to no one else.

Here’s my all time favorite self delusion/ lie… “Do I look fat in this?” If you have to ask, you have already lied to yourself and are actively looking for somebody to reinforce the lie by lying back at you.

A little bit too close for comfort? It is for me. But we are working on that.

Whoops. That’s a bit of a lie itself considering we hid two boxes of Girl Scout Tagalongs (the best Girl Scout Cookie ever) in our bedroom and devoured one of them in about ten minutes last night–all while calling the cookies medical stress relief. (Hey Sweetie, can we eat the second box tonight? Please?)

It’s ok to laugh now so get it out of your system because here is where the going gets rough…

Can you guess where the most lies are told every week of every year and have been for longer than most of us could ever imagine? (In my not-so-humble opinion)

Can you guess what the lie is?

Would you believe me if I told you we like both to be lied to and want to tell the lie?

The place is church.

The lie is I’m fine.

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Every Sunday somebody asks how are you doing? And sure, I recognize it is more of a greeting than anything truly about wanting real information–but, in the asking, we expect to hear back I’m fine.

This isn’t just a Sunday phenomenon, but we’ll stay there for the purpose of this blog.

Grieving, hurting, or struggling people–for whatever reason, make us uncomfortable–so for our own little world to be ok, we want to know that others are ok. Even when they are not.

So we lie. We lie to protect others. We lie to protect ourselves.

God help us if we have a stigmatized sin problem–it will be the biggest lie of all. Everybody wants to believe the emperor is wearing new clothes even when it is painfully honest he is not. Nobody wants to acknowledge or be open about the 800 pound Gorilla sitting in the room.

We like church to be sterile, clean, and free of the horror infusing so many of our lives–when it should be the twelve step spiritual, mental, and physical support group for the pain or struggle we so often suffer alone.

Quit lying.

Tell the truth.

Stop being so sanctimonious.

Lay off having such great expectations of your fellow traveler.

Welcome those who hurt.

The next day may be your turn to be comforted, helped, and loved…

Please don’t struggle alone. Find that one person or two or three you can share your deepest and darkest heartache and fear with. They will love you for it and through it. And you? You’ll end up loving yourself more.

Jesus said to love your neighbor like yourself. How can you love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself.

No more lies… It’s the right road to take!

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20 thoughts on “No More Lies!

  1. I have been following this blog since its inception. Since I am only a *distant* relative, I have chosen to not comment. I, however, must say this blog post touched me. I have struggled with lying most of my life. A lot of it was lies to myself, but others were clearly lies to others. I, along with you, am convicted that I and the church must be wholly and completely honest about our condition. I know that I cannot grow in vulnerably and trust until I am willing to risk realness with others. Thanks for the words.

  2. Good stuff Les. Let me know if you EVER find a church that supports your vision of one that is “the twelve step spiritual, mental, and physical support group for the pain or struggle we so often suffer alone.” I may be cynical but I do not think that one exists or anyone really wants it to exist.

  3. Perhaps it’s the counselor in me, but I find it an interesting experiment to reply to people at church exactly how I am feeling at that moment and they don’t want to know! I did this as a preacher, too, and the response was further magnified. Everyone wants their preacher to stay on the pedestal on which he’s been placed. I had a co-preacher’s wife take me to task years ago for admitting a struggle from the pulpit. Her husband would never do such a thing and the people need “a strong, spiritual minister.” Though I stayed at that church for 8 years, it was a horrible experience but I gained much insight through the journey.

  4. “Or two or three…” I have them-my Soul Sisters. They know when my answrr I’m fine is real or not. Often when I do not know myself.

  5. YOU TOLD ABOUT THE GIRL SCOUT COOKIES?
    How could you? We had an agreement… you were not supposed to talk about “really personal” stuff on this blog!
    for the record… they were really good! Thanks for bringing them home!

  6. That is something I have always struggled with… when someone asks, at times I want to say “I’m falling apart….” but that would freak people out…. So it’s always “I’m fine.”

    Next time I’m asked, I’m gonna go for the truth and see what happens…. Thanks, Les. I needed this.

    • Les – I don’t know Tina, who wrote the previous comment & left a link in it for you (& us, I presume) to read that she thought related to your current post, but I just read the article and found it compelling in much the same way yours is.

      Near the end of the piece on lying, he wrote the following, which I think we can all benefit from, so I am quoting it here for everyone to think about:

      “Stop shining your scars. It’s OK for them to be painful. The things you did and the things you had done to you hurt and admitting that out loud doesn’t add more failure to your heart. If anything, it creates a lighthouse of sickness in you for the doctor that came looking for the sick, Jesus.”

      I like that idea that sharing our real selves, rather than attempting to cover them up and hide them away, can – will – “create a lighthouse of sickness (maybe sinfulness) in [us] for the doctor [who] came looking for the sick, Jesus.”

      Les – through your posts here on your new blog, I believe you are creating a lighthouse for all of us who are willing to look and see it shine, that will cause changes in each of us for the better.

      Thank you, friend. Shalom.

  7. I have repented of my sin a year ago. I am learning to be honest with my family about my inner pain. Sure, I could tell them when I was having a bad day. I shared my tears and some sadness. My new husband, I was more honest. He has seen the darkness within me, but NO ONE has seen the whole picture. The best way I could describe it was like standing on the edge of a volcano. If I looked down, I would be lost forever. So, I lied and pretended “It was all good”. Through the last year of intense group (12 step study in CR) I learned that I did not have to fear the volcano. It was okay to share with my family and close friends that there are times “It is NOT all good”. I am learning. I am learning to lean and not have to be the pillar. I was the protector for so many years and now I understand it is okay to allow them to protect me. I am so blessed.

  8. So funny!! And by funny what I mean is this.. I had a week. A really terrible week.. In my week I had a secret. My secret. The secret that my life is not as perfect as it appears and I struggle with this. But the Good Lord set it up perfectly and my perfect LIE spilled forth from my mouth and the truth was finally aired.
    The lie I was told by the church is that you must appear perfect like the rest of the perfect club and only those with drug use or dying loved ones are allowed to bear hurt and confusion because they can not hide it from others.
    I had to leave that church for that lack of authenticity in MY life and pretense has fallen from me.

    Les I would personally love to hear you preach if your preaching is much like your writing. Authentic, wrestling, real.

    The often asked questions are ‘how do I do this?’ The reply? Pray and read your bible.. But you mean HOW do I do this and I have been praying and reading.. It doesn’t seem to be ‘working’ quite the way you expect it to.

    We live in a fallen world with a living God. His words lift off the pages of a man-made God-inspired book and become real in our hearts and mind.

    Yep.. Lying..
    I hate it too..

  9. Several years ago, my pastor gave a sermon on this. Even before that, I had been bothered by the typical “Good! And you?” that I give and get. But what do you say when there’s lots of people around and you’re pretty sure that the person asking doesn’t care enough to hear out and answer longer than 3 words? I have decided to go with something more vague. On bad days, I respond, “Oh, I’m alive.” You know, no one ever probes for further information, either, but at least I feel I have been honest.

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