“Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.” (Proverbs 13:19) NLT
Have you ever ended up having to cover some lie with other lies? I’m fairly confident that every one of us has attempted it at some point in our lives. It always starts small, doesn’t it? For one reason or another, saying something dishonest makes sense in the moment. Maybe it’s to avoid a story we don’t want to go into, or maybe we want to be viewed in a certain way. There’s always justification. We assume that will be the end of it. But the people we told that lie to will inevitably have a memory like a steel trap and it will come up again. A request will be made for more detail, and then the lies will begin to stack up. No matter how slick we are, eventually our dishonesty will be exposed.
When I was eight or so, I was on my way to bed one Saturday night and my mom asked if I had read my Sunday School lesson so I would be prepared in the morning. Of course I hadn’t, but I said “Uh huh”. I didn’t feel like doing it, and I expected her to smile, pat me on my head, give me a kiss, and turn out the light. My mom smiled at me and asked, “What was it about?” I’m pretty sure my eight year old sleepy eyes got as big as saucers. Suddenly I was wide awake. I quickly scanned through what I knew of the Bible (didn’t take long), came up with something that seemed sufficiently generic, and threw it out there. “Moses and the Battle.” My mother was not impressed. Moses clearly did a lot of stuff, but it turns out he never actually had a “Braveheart” moment.
Consider the anxiety and stress of trying to think fast and maintain consistent laser focus so that the picture you painted is always viewed as reality. It’s not sustainable. It always seems to escalate. Things get more and more complicated, and the anxiety and guilt become constricting. Finally some random question or detail we aren’t even aware of will do us in. In Proverbs 13:19 (shown above), God warns us that our failure is not something unexpected that is specific to this situation. When we lie, our dishonesty only stays hidden for a while. Eventually, we are found out and our reputations and our relationships are impacted.
How do you tell your kids to do the right thing when they’ve watched you lie to your spouse? Dishonesty damages our relationships. In some cases, the damage is so severe it will take years to repair it. The single most important component of a relationship is trust. That can’t be earned back with an apology or two. You may receive forgiveness but not trust, at least not right away. All of us seem to want an easy, relaxing, uncomplicated life. It’s pointless to create our own stress and anxiety. What if you were completely honest with your spouse about what you do and where you go? What if you were honest with your business partners about where the money went? What would it be like to live a life of integrity so that you aren’t tempted to lie and cover and scheme? That’s where God wants to lead us. Are you following?