By Curtis Shelburne: CNJ Religion Columnist
Among the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. Author Keith Miller was right on target when he wrote, “Honesty may not be the doorway into the kingdom of Heaven, but it is the latchstring to every door in the house.” Lots of doors slam shut without it.
Sometimes, though, it is harder to be honest with ourselves than it is to be honest with others. Lies easily become the cancer that eats away at our souls. Healing comes only when we expose them to the light and deal with them as the lies they are. But that is not easy.
Ironically, most people who are in the midst of deluding themselves most seriously do it because they are really too honest and decent to be comfortable pursuing their present course without first lying to themselves about its morality or its consequences.
“I know Bob [or Joe or Jim] doesn’t seem to care about his relationship with God now, but once we’re married, he’ll change and become the spiritual leader of our home.”
“Yes, of course, drunkenness is a bad thing, but I really don’t have an alcohol problem. I can quit drinking whenever I choose. I just don’t think now is a good time.”
“Yes, I know that by pushing for this divorce I am breaking every vow that I once held dear, but I have very good reasons, you see, and I can do it with no permanent damage to myself or my kids. I need it to be happy.”
“If I just work a little harder, a little longer, make a little more money, or finish one more big project, then I’ll take time to slow down and spend time with my family, but until then, little pieces of ‘quality time’ are good enough.”
And maybe the most dangerous lie of all: “I’m too strong, too good, to ever tell myself the lies listed above or any of the million and one others like them. I just wouldn’t make that mistake.”
When God came on the scene back in Genesis 3 and found Father Adam & Mother Eve with forbidden fruit juice still trickling down their mouths, the Bible says that they stood lying to their God and suddenly realized that they were naked, and they were ashamed.
Strange. The only way that we their children can be healed and whole and unashamed is to once again stand naked before Him, laying aside the shabby rags of our self-deception, opening ourselves to be clothed in the pure white robes of His truth, His light, His Son, honestly opening all of our sin and our deep need before the One in whom there is no falsehood at all.