Lying is a problem, the most basic of character problems. Like many, I’ve been disappointed by the string of denials of wrongdoing followed by the admission of guilt and public apology. We have a great capacity for twisting things to serve our own ends. Jeremiah 17: 8 observes that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Lying has consequences. Broken trust, broken relationships, loss of integrity, to name a few. All are pathways to destruction. But I’ve been struck by this thought.
The most harmful lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
The lies we tell ourselves take us to a point of arrogance and pride. We become blind to our own hubris and faults. Weakness and sin threaten our ambitions–too much risk to come clean. And, in the blindness, in the hiding or blaming, we deceive ourselves.
Self-deception is like this. It blinds us to the true causes of problems, and once we’re blind, all the “solutions” we can think of will actually make matters worse. Whether at work or at home, self-deception obscures the truth about ourselves, corrupts our view of others and our circumstances, and inhibits our ability to make wise and helpful decisions. To the extent that we are self-deceived, both our happiness and our leadership are undermined at every turn…. ¹
No greater example is David. His whole episode with Bathsheeba and Uriah show that he had become blinded by power and lust. When Nathan told the story of a powerful ruler who stole from a poor man to confront him, David did not even recognize himself in the story. Nathan had to tell him.²
For the person whose sins are forgiven, hiding or blaming is no longer necessary. Every sin has been seen, and every sin is paid in full. God invites us to be honest with Him about our struggles, motives, temptations. We have an Advocate praying for us daily. We can come to Him with open hearts and confess our need for His life to flow through us. We can confess to one another our faults and be healed.
To walk in the truth, we have understand the safety of His grace and to un-learn our habits of hiding and blaming. We can start with asking the Lord to open our eyes to our own patterns and by His grace, to turn away from the hiding and toward confessing to the Lord and to others.
David’s own repentance is so beautifully expressed in Psalm 51. The importance of truth is highlighted in verse 6.
Surely You desire truth in the innermost parts;You teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me….and I shall be clean….Create in me a clean heart, O Lord….
Wherever you and I are today, the good news is this. There is One who loves us and sees us inside out. And with Him is grace and forgiveness to the one who will come to Him and be cleansed. With Him, we can have integrity of heart. No risks at all. He welcomes us with open arms.