Over the centuries, Advent has been a time of expectant repentance—part of our preparation for Christ to come into our lives. Today’s blog continues that theme, this time focused on the eventual outcomes of a life of continuing lying.
I don’t always tell the truth. No matter what other names I attach to this behavior, it’s still always lying. In some parts of my life I’ve assembled fortresses of falsehoods. I may think I’ve covered any of the lies with a well-constructed explanation. But when I step back, it’s readily apparent that these conceptual castles are shabby, shaky and stupid.
To live with lies, it’s necessary to hold together constantly an imagined reality that might make sense to others. That’s what lying is really about at any moment—convincing others that I am worthy of their regard. And when they believe the lies, they can become enabling liars as well. The ugliness of untruths could grow and spread into other corners of life until much of what I do and say could actually become whitewashing the monstrous edifices of lies that I have constructed.
The example of this president—and those around him—gives me pause here. I can see how easily his house of cards crumbles, how he must feed the anger addictions of those who depend on his lies, how he cannot track realities outside of his universe of falsehood. How his overactive confirmation bias—fooling himself—has destroyed genuine relationships.
It’s important for me to see how living with lies could eventually infect my character in other ways. To fear the consequences of lying more than the consequences of honesty. To admit that the natural outcomes of living-the-lie(s) could destroy me. To speak more truth than untruth. To listen carefully when someone who loves me calls me out for half-truths or worse.
There is hope: Forgiveness is readily available wherever I turn—something I can depend on much more than my semi-rational, imagined skills at fabricating untruths.
This Advent, I repent of lying!