TODAY’S FORECAST: Honest
Well, it’s been a few days since my last post, so I’ll pick up on where I left off on the GPS of Faith series in reviewing the 10 commandments. Considering I combined multiple commandments on a few of the posts, I just realized that this leaves us at the second-to-last post, so we’re down to the home stretch and then this series will be finished. Congratulations on sticking it out with me, we’ve almost made it! 🙂
Today’s focus commandment is this:
You shall not bear false witness.
I don’t know how anyone could argue that “bearing false witness,” otherwise known as lying, has become almost as natural as breathing in our society. We lie about all sorts of things from falsifying our looks for the sake of youth to telling our kids that they are the very best, brightest and strongest, even if they’re not. I recently read an article published online by Huffpost Healthy Living from September, 2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/09/why-we-lie-time-factor-truth_n_1862384.html. The article quoted a Notre Dame Psychology Professor, Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D., as saying “Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week.” How sad that is. That’s quite a lot of false witnessing right there! I don’t think there’s much then to be argued that this commandment is still applicable today. In the article Dr. Kelly went on to say that, “We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.” So let me get this straight. Lying is not only wrong in God’s eyes, but can also negatively impact our health? Then why the heck do we do it?
Studies have shown that most of us are not spending those 11 lies a week telling the “really big whoppers,” but the “little white lies” that easily slip into our social banter. We all know that lying is wrong; however, if we are honest with ourselves, we would probably realize that we tell a few too many “little white lies” than we’d openly care to admit. For most of us, telling a lie seems like a simple way of sparing people’s feelings, avoiding conflict, saving ourselves from embarrassment, protecting our kids or inflating our own self-esteem. Have you ever heard yourself saying something like:
“You’ve put on weight? Seriously, where?”
“Of course I would tell you if I was upset with you, we’re friends, aren’t we?”
“That’s funny, I never got that paperwork.”
“Sorry I’m late, traffic was backed up because of an accident.”
“There are no losers, honey, only winners.”
“I shot a 67 on the course last weekend!”
“We can afford the Lexus. We’ll pay this credit card off as soon as you get your next bonus.”
It’s so easy to convince ourselves that lies like these are not only okay, but also a way of survival in this crazy world we live in. So let’s turn the tables for a moment. What if God was the one telling us the “little white lies?” Imagine if He had said:
“That fig leaf ensemble looks fabulous on you, Eve!”
“Cain, your offering wasn’t all that bad, you’re still a winner in My eyes.”
“Why Moses, of course you can part the Red Sea all by yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to.”
“You should have seen it; I sent those Israelites steak and eggs, right down from the heavens!”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Jonah, they’re really not that bad in Nineveh, just a little misguided that’s all.”
“Well Martha, I know Lazarus has been dead for four days, but with you in charge, of course the tomb won’t stink.”
“Mary, you’re highly qualified. This being the “Mother of Jesus” thing will be a snap!”
“It’s okay, Judas, I’m sure you needed the money.”
Sounds ridiculous right? Well, it’s just as ridiculous as the lies we tell each other. Remember folks, the devil is the “father of lies,” the “king of ridiculousness.” He is the one that secretly convinces each of us that we’re not good enough or that if we tell the complete truth, God will not be there to fulfill whatever void we believe is being created. As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts, he is also the master of subtlety. He doesn’t attempt to take our hearts with the “tall” tales he plants his seed with little untruths. That is why we have to come together and pray that we can guard our hearts against them. Remember, whether we classify them as “big whoppers” or “little white lies” we’re still breaking God’s commandments.
Challenge for the week: Honestly look at the times you “stretch the truth” and see why you do it. Ask God for guidance and forgiveness in this area.