Friday, July 11, 2008

In the muck

So I've been thinking a lot about lies lately. See, we're enmeshed in this situation where people are lying to us. Lying to protect themselves, lying to get things they want, lying just for the heck of it, maybe. I don't know. I'm not very used to lying anymore. I live with the Beve, who is committed to truth in the innermost parts. And I live in my own skin.

See, I was quite the liar when I was a child. Seriously, I told some whoppers. And once I learned what 'fiction' meant--telling stories that one made up--I told my mother "I'm not lying, I'm telling fiction." Oddly, that only made her more angry. However, it didn't stop me from handing out 'whoppers,' if I thought I could avoid punishment by them. One big one was when I'd just started third grade and cut up my mother's very first paycheck when she started teaching. I was just messing around at my dad's desk, and there was a pair of scissors and what looked like scratch paper (or maybe it didn't, I don't know anymore!). I just started snipping, and before long, there was a pile of tiny scraps on the desk. When my parents found it, I lied. Through and through. I remember sitting on the stairs with my brother and sisters, talking about it. I said it couldn't have been me because I'm left-handed and could hardly cut with those right-handed scissors. I even proved it by making a hash of a cutting job on some actual scratch paper. My parents never managed to find out which of us cut up that check. Go figure! But later, it came back to haunt me. Once someone ate a piece of chocolate cake before it was frosted that Mom had made for a birthday, and I was blamed for it. I was indignant about it because I've never even liked chocolate. But that's what lying gets you. I obviously hadn't fooled my parents at all.

In middle school once a parent of one of my sister's friends saw me walking down the street with someone smoking. 7th grade and on the way to bigger problems. She told my parents, and I lied about it. They didn't quite believe me when I told them it hadn't been me, but they wanted to trust me. And somehow I was pretty overcome with guilt about the whole incident--and those friends.

A couple years later, I met Jesus, fell in love with Him, and wanted my life to be different. Surrendered. I asked Him to make it so that I was caught in any lies I might instinctively speak, and He was faithful. But it wasn't an easy lesson to learn. The critical moment was actually a backwards lie. With one of those friends from middle school, I was in a store one day, and she wanted a purse. Notice, not 'to buy a purse' but just 'she wanted it.' Her coat was too tight against her to take it herself, so she talked me into stealing it for her. Right outside the store's door, we ran into one of our Young Life leaders. I was horrified, felt like that purse was glowing through my coat and the shame visible on my face. We raced off to my friend's house, where she took the purse and I hurried home. I felt so convicted, however, that the next day I went to that same store with 8$ (things were cheaper then!) from my lunch-money,and bought another purse identical to the first, then took it from my bag and placed it back on the shelf.
However, a few weeks later, a second friend ran away from home, and when she was recovered, all sorts of misbehaviors were exposed--including my shoplifting adventure. My parents didn't believe me when I told them what I'd done. The purse was evidence of my guilt. So I was hauled up to that store again, made to confess to stealing the purse, and had to pay another 8$ for it, thereby having paid double for a purse I never owned.

But it taught me. Truth in my inmost being. And since then, I've been a truth-lover, truth-teller. Sometimes to the dismay of my parents or others but I just can't abide lies anymore. It just seems to me that we can always survive the truth, but lies will kill us in the end. And by the time we had our children, I was much better at truth. And very good at seeing the difference in them. That's the thing about parents--if we want to, we can see truth in our children's eyes.

And now here we are, in the middle of a web of lies that we don't have any control over. They aren't our lies, or our lives, but we've been thrust into them, and have to wade around in that muck. And I am certain Satan is having a hay-day with it all. I look at these people, listen to their stories and don't have a clue what is real and what is 'fiction.' And bit by bit, I'm losing my trust in them and find it harder to like them. A relationship not built on truth has a way of crumbling. It's like we have slime all over us all the time.

So where is God in it? "Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior." Psalm 25:5

That's all there is to it--the world and its master (the enemy of truth) is all about distortion and lies, but He who is the Truth is also the Way and the Life. It's not about truth as an abstraction, but Truth as a Person. The Person. It's the only answer. It was for me--knowing Him, loving Him, wanting to become like Him--it was the only way to truth in my words and deeds. And so I press on from here, not praying that they will tell truth, but that they will know Him who is Truth.

No comments: