17 July 2012

I Have a Secret (I'm a Liar)

One of the first lies I remember telling as a kid, in vivid detail had to do with my best friend Scott.  Scott was always showered with the cool toys before everyone else, so needless to say, he was popular.  He had this great new toy called “Atari” –a game system he cherished. He would carefully unhook it from the TV after each gaming session and meticulously place it back into its original box.  Each game cartridge was restored to its own package and slid underneath his bed.

Conveniently, Scott lived next door and, in the 70’s, it was common to leave doors unlocked when you went out. On this particular day, I watched Scott and his family leave for the evening. I remember thinking about the Atari…sitting there alone, abandoned, and unplayed.  Exercising the wisdom of an 11 year old, I rationalized:  since the house was unlocked and no one would know, I would ‘borrow’ his game system. So I made my way over to his house, helped myself to the Atari and my favorite game ‘Space Invaders’ and brought it back to my house, anxious, about the hours of uninterrupted gaming fun I was about to enjoy.

I was lost in computerized battle, but suddenly jolted back to reality by the sound of a car pulling into Scott’s driveway.  They were home ahead of schedule.  Crap! What was I going to do? I hastily unhooked everything, repackaged it, and ran next door to intercept Scott before he could discover the atrocity.

As fate would have it, Scott discovered his missing Atari immediately.  When asked about knowledge of this tragedy, I mustered the courage of an eleven year old, looked him, his parents, and my parents right in the eye and said sincerely, “I have no idea what could have happened to it.”

I was not aware that my mom had already discovered and retrieved it from my bedroom and returned it. But, to double down on shaming me, they presented the Atari in front of everyone I had just looked ‘in the eye.’ Ugh, I was so sick at that moment: caught telling a lie.

Proverbs 12:22 says “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”

If I told you from that instance forward I never lied to anyone again, that would be a lie, too.  As I look back at my own life, I’m able to see how much of it has been lived as a lie.  Even after I became a Christian, I still lived a lie.

If left unchecked it is very easy to continue to live this lie as a man. If you are a Christian man still living a lie there are many telling signs.  If you handle your finances in the same way as a non-Christian, you are living a lie.  If your marriage resembles that of a non-Christian, you are living a lie.  If your morals line up with the world’s, you are living a lie.  If you’re single and love Jesus but hop from bed to bed: LIE.  If you find yourself being ashamed and covering up your actions, you’re living a lie.

How do we move past this? How do we become honest and real? First, understand why you lie. For some, you may lie to make others feel better. For me, I lie to make myself look better. But, the real reason I lie is -because at its root, I don’t really trust God.

When I lie, what I am saying is I believe that my lie will work better and be more effective than the truth.  I am elevating myself above God by failing to trust Him over my solution to lie.

You may be covering up something you did years ago and weren’t honest with your spouse about it.  You might be covering sin resulting from time alone on the computer.  Are you addicted to anything that ‘requires’ lying about:  an emotional affair?

Men, stop living a lie.  There is a solution.  There are two things you can do right now for relief from the weight of the mess you’ve lied your way into:  Jesus, aka The Truth.  He’s asking you to confess; lay it on the line, all the ugliness of it.  He’s there to extend forgiveness to you, faithfully, as you reach up and receive it.  (1 John 1:9)

Secondly, do what James 5:16 teaches us, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  If you’re asking yourself “who do I confess to?” My answer to you is “it depends.” It depends on who you’ve not been real with and who you have lied to. Is it your spouse? Your family? A co-worker? Go to THEM and be real because everyone does not need to know everything.

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