I recently read an article about a Christian man who made a commitment to stop lying. To be clear right up front this was not one of those experiments in being brutally honest all the time. Personally I have read several stories about people who committed themselves to unfiltered truth and ended up simply being a jerk that hurt people. No, this commitment had a filter on it so that the truth was spoken when it needed to be spoken. This experiment lasted for almost 2 years until the author felt like he was finally being honest. There were a couple of things about the article that stuck with me and I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind for the last couple weeks.
First, it reminded me of a lesson from a college professor of mine named Kenny Boles. He said that, “We lie because we do not think the other person can handle the truth.” I know that anyone who has seen “A Few Good Men” can hear Jack Nicholson’s voice in their head saying “You can’t handle the truth!,” so I must tell you that my professor said it years before that movie. But whichever person said it first doesn’t matter because it is wise counsel in either form. Sure we lie to get ahead and cover our mistakes but the underlying issue is that we do not think the other person can handle the truth in the manner we think they should. In his article he stated that telling people the truth about why they didn’t get invited to a particular party was the hardest. Being honest with people about their “issues” is hard.
Second, the first part of the article I found the most interesting. He said the hardest lies to stop telling were the lies he told himself. I see it all the time, we lie to ourselves about our relationships, our weight, our attitude and a host of other things. Do you know what I am talking about? There is the possibility that I do not face the truth because I cannot handle it. I do not want to admit that my marriage is failing, my spouse is abusive or completely unChristian in their actions or maybe I do not want to admit to my mistakes and shortcomings in any way.
For me the question today is very simple; In what ways am I lying to myself? What truth do I refuse to see because I cannot handle it?
The first step of growth in many of our lives is to face the truth. Unfortunately that is easier said than done. Maybe a commitment to the truth would do us all some good.