Yesterday I began talking about truth and its relationship to love. To be truthful eventually involves sacrifice. There will come a moment when telling the truth will cost you something. Not to belabor the pun but that is the moment of truth. It is not until the demand is made that the test arrives. Until then, it is easy.
That is why truth and agape (sacrificial love) are so linked. We see that readily in what has come to be called tough love. Being honest because someone needs that directness, even when it hurts you and them, is why it is tough.
But, the principle applies across the board. When push comes to shove and a lie removes the pressure, the temptation to give up the truth can become crushing. The most difficult pressure is applied to our ego, when standing for the truth will diminish our importance, our significance, or possibly even ruin our reputation. That is where the sacrifice comes in, or should come in. Instead it is where the lies often begin.
Often, our compromises are not outright lies, but calculated shadings or omissions of the truth so that we do not have to admit what we are trying to hide. But in the end it is a fruitless exercise. Jesus told everyone who would listen:
For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. Mark 4:22
Eventually the bill comes due. The books are opened and all of the secrets are laid bare. A that moment and thereafter, there is nowhere to hide, no lies left to tell. All will be known.
But then sin has always been like that. It is like a high interest credit card; you know the bill will be debilitating, but for the moment, well, you get what you want. You will worry about that later. At least that kind of motivation you can understand.
However, the more insidious kind of deceit is when you have lied to yourself and convinced yourself of the need, if not nobleness of your efforts. Sure, you may be stretching the truth, embellishing for effect, using hyperbole as if it were real, but it is for a good cause.
There are many in our culture and body politic today that are guilty of that self-delusion. The end justifies the means, since it is for a good cause, even if the cause itself ends up a lie.
The Christian, especially the pastors and teachers, have to break from the herd, be in the world but not of it. For the single most destructive thing a Christian in authority can do is lie. People will forgive honestly confessed and repented sin, but a lie opens the door to quicksand where the footing can never be trusted again.
So good Christian, aspire to always be honest and truthful. You can’t hide it for long anyway. Make the right decision, right off. In the end it is not only right, it is cheaper. Lies bear a very high rate of interest.
Grace and peace be unto you and my the blessing of truth always be upon your lips.