Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tips for Better Living

Here's a tip that only applies to a few and unfortunately for the rest of us they are not likely to consider it applicable: Tell the truth. Don't lie. Be honest with yourself and others. As my mother often quoted, "Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" (from Marmion, by Sir Walter Scott)

Why do some people lie, then lie to themselves about the lies so that they seem to believe their own woven entanglement of fabricated half-truths and untruths.

If you read yesterday's post, you can appreciate the following admonishment: "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." (1 Timothy 4:1-2) Hypocritical liars are liars who act pious, conducting themselves with the pretense of morality and often seeking public approval. The implication here is that these people are hard-hearted. Maybe we can have sympathy for them and believe that the world (external influences) made them that way. I wonder. It is possible this habit itself hardens ones own heart.

While God seeks a relationship with us, we are empowered to choose. We are free to not be in relationship with God. Our decision to seek a relationship with Him is all the more powerful and rewarding given that choice. If by our lifestyle we are constantly and willfully irritating and annoying Him, I'm not sure we can successfully be in relationship with Him (the same goes for the people we love and live with here on earth).

We are told of the things that are detestable to the LORD:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

It seems reasonable that we ought to avoid these things in our daily lives. While I doubt too many of us are at risk of shedding innocent blood literally, take that figuratively and all of these behaviors are seen daily in corporate America, on television (news, soap operas, dramas and sit-coms), and probably anywhere you find human beings interacting. The Bible is filled with tales of what happens when decisions are based on lies, starting with the original sin of Adam and Eve.

I know that lying is a learned behavior. Most ~4 year olds go through a phase where they can look us in the eye and tell us they have NOT had any chocolate cake, with the evidence clearly smeared across their precious faces. How we respond may shape their habits for the rest of their lives. I'm not an expert but tragically two of my children in their years as young adults have habitually lied when the truth would have been easier. I don't know if this is still true for them because I am no longer in a position to "bust them." I pray that they learn that world is kinder, and the future is brighter, for folks who tell the truth ... even when the truth is harder.



Anonymous said...

"Maybe we can have sympathy for them and believe that the world (external influences) made them that way. I wonder. It is possible this habit itself hardens ones own heart."

I will call 'heart' symbolic of the brain, which, with repetitive behaviors 'hardwires' (verb) into habits or patterns of behavior. As usual, my response includes both psychology and an organic application.

Probably not very reassuring when dealing with your children. In trying to understand your perspective...I might be (still being me) more concerned with intent or motive than 'the lies'.

These verses have helped me (with some difficult people): Matt 18:15-17.


you gotta wonder said...

Ironically my reading tonight started with Matthew 13:47-51. In general, my thoughts are for all people who have somehow "learned" to tell lies as a way of life.

And, as usual, your comments are insightful.

Nancy said...

Great post of truth. There is not enough truth in the world. Thanks!

you gotta wonder said...

Thank you Nancy! I appreciate your stopping by. This subject really resonates with me.