"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Liar, Liar

I was not born in the land of deceit, but in a small loving rural community with churches every two miles in any direction. I belong to one of them. I came from good people, was taught good things- was loved more than any one kid could dream of. Yet, one day as a child, I began lying and it became as natural and progressive as saying my first word or taking my first step. It just came out of my mouth. Did you take a cookie? No. What’s that on your mouth? I don’t know. No one teaches a child to lie, they just do it.

Don’t judge me, you have done it too.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

The first memory I have of lying might have been out of the need for self-preservation. I am three or four years old. I am asked by mother if I had cut my hair. I denied it feeling truly shocked that she had accused me of such a thing. But I had forgotten the clearly identifiable nonprofessional uneven chunk missing from my head of hair. But, my mother had noticed. She asked if I had cut my hair with HER scissors. According to her, she had told me at some point in time to never use her scissors. And yet she left them on her dressing table, in plain sight and in front of a mirror. Temptation, I have never been good at it or maybe I am. What is a three year old supposed to do, ignore the right to bear arms against ones hair? The tool was there. Opportunity arose. Reflection in a mirror and bam (drum roll please), hair fell to the floor. I did it. I admit it now. I cut my hair with the scissors, from my mother’s dressing table, and pushed the curly locks that had landed on the floor underneath the dresser. So she said, “Did you cut your hair?” The woman, who carried me for 9 months in her womb and labored for hours and hours just so I could be born to the world, was asking me for the truth. But, did she really think I had the truth in me? Don’t judge me. I don’t remember if I actually said anything. But I do remember shaking my head from side to side. She said, “I sweep there every day.” I ask you, was that not a set up? I looked at my mother and clearly remember thinking that she was smart, very very smart. I would not learn until much later that my mother was committed to sweeping her floors every day-imagine that- even under dressing tables. Hello! That information would have been useful for that time and place.

Lies, for a new experience.

Don't judge me.

The second memory I have of lying was promising my little brother I would play whatever he wanted if he first played what I wanted. At the age of six or seven I had no intention of playing what he wanted not one bit –unless my mother made me.

Lies, for manipulation.

Now you may be thinking I needed a good swatting or grounding or selling off to the first gypsy band that came along, but it gets better or worse. I told my high school neighbor across the street, when we lived in the city, that my uncle’s, girlfriend’s son (are you keeping up) liked her and wanted to date her. I kept the lie going for weeks. Clever for a 4th grader you might say? I say a tangled web. I even started to believe my own lies. I felt guilty. I wonder if she ever forgave me.

Lies, for recognition.

Same street different neighbor; he was a highway patrolman. I sat in his yard on a blanket with their special needs baby. The baby was so sweet. Now you’re thinking why would they let that deceitful little girl play with their baby? Don’t judge me. I was sitting there being nice, he was mowing the yard, a rock flew out of the deck and hit me on the neck. I flinched. He stopped the mower and yelled. “Did that rock hit you?” Red necked and all (do not go there), I said. “No.”

Lies, for saving face (literally).

You don’t always wise up as you grow older. In junior high school, I forged my mother’s signature on my grade card when I had brought home a “D”. And when the next grade cycle rolled around, I hadn’t kept track of my lie. Remember how smart my mother was when I was three? With two more children, she had gotten smarter. She immediately identified the signature as -not hers. I had some “splaining to do, Lucy”. I denied doing it, played stupid, for all of one minute. I felt sorry- that I had been caught.

Lies, for success.

Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit. Psalm 52:2

By now are you thinking I am pathological liar?

I'm nothing special, I am just a ordinary liar.

Don’t judge.

It’s not just me. We all lie. We take credit for other peoples work. We cheat on our spouses. We lie about our age. We lie about our weight. We keep incorrect change. We lie to advance or to be popular. Our lies may not seem big or outlandish or they may be, but they are dishonest actions of mind and mouth delivered for various reasons.

As children we are not typically taught to lie. It is just a part of our corrupt nature. It may just be that it is sometimes easier to lie than to tell the truth. Now you may be aghast and thinking, I would never do that- lie. If so you may just be a liar.

Truth liberates. Lies shackle. Truth brings peace. Lies bring chaos.

The woman saw the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and ate it. Sound familiar? The man did the same. No going back, it was done. Eyes wide open. Understanding gained. Exposed. Then an attempt at cover up. Sound familiar? We all do it.

Then they heard the Lord coming and they hid, they knew they were the cause of their own nakedness and they hid what they had done to themselves. Ashamed and guilt ridden. God asked his wonderful creations, that he had labored over for hours, perhaps days just to bring into the world, “Where are you? Did you do what I told you not do?” (my paraphrase)

The man blamed the woman. The woman blamed the serpent. The serpent didn’t care, he was just laughing at what he had caused. (My opinion) He had encouraged God’s children to lie to, to deceive, to sin against Him. The serpent still laughs when he causes distance between the Holy God and his children. Jesus felt every single lie, deceit and sin that you and I do-when he suffered and died on the cross. We hurt him. But God still loves us even through our lies. For God so loved the World. . . .(John 3:16) He will loves you –and me. (Source Genesis 3)

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

Lies separate us from the Holy God.

Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell. Psalm 43:3

We have the choice.

I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws. Psalm 119:30

Stand firm then,
with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place, Ephesians 6:14


Darkness awaits if we choose lies over truth.

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 1 John 1:6

God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:4

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 1 John 1:6

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

It is a struggle to be good, to not live in lies and deceit. But, we are never alone. God has given us what we need - the tools- to live in truth.

Darkness does not have authority over you, God does when you walk with him.

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