Some time ago it hit me that I was a regular liar. It was just the little things–an excuse here, a “white” lie there, an easy way out and a tiny lie to save face. It hit me when I went to a parish meeting. I was wasting time on social media and did not allow enough time to get to the meeting so I arrived ten minutes late. I breezed in and said, “Sorry folks. Terrible traffic.”
In fact there was no terrible traffic. I was late because I was self indulgently wasting time on the internet and did not get up and get away in time to be punctual. “OK,” you say, “It was a little lie. A harmless lie. Nobody was hurt by it.”
But I thought on the way home, “What if I just decided to never lie? To not cheat on my income tax even a little, to not be sneaky and sidestep the details that trouble me. What if I simply decided to tell the truth or at least keep silent if it was not my place or the time to speak the truth? What if I did this? What if we all did this?
The reason I think it is important is because our whole society has given into the weakness of lying when it is convenient. We lie to make others feel better (so we tell ourselves when in fact the lie is always to make our own lives or our own self esteem better) When we lie–even a little–we contribute to the avalanche of lies in our society. We contribute to the atmosphere of lies–the fog of lies–which make all the big lies more believable. Why, for instance, do we put up with the lies of the radical sexual revolution: feminism, homosexualism, transgenderism etc.? Because we have got used to lies, we have become accustomed to validating lies because we have too often allowed ourselves to lie.
The collective result of the lies is to validate relativism–the belief that there is no such thing as truth.
When we lie we eventually become the People of the Lie. I discuss this phenomenon in more detail in my book Immortal Combat. It is a term taken from M Scott Peck’s classic book of that title. The People of the Lie are the nice people whose life, whose respectability, whose whole self image is based on a lie–the deep lie that they first of all tell themselves, that they are good people.
This is the fundamental lie. We are indeed good because we are created in God’s image, but the People of the Lie do not acknowledge this primal goodness. They create the lie that they are good in and of themselves, and isn’t this the very first lie from the Father of Lies?–who says to our first parents…”Eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and you will become like God.
Every time I lie, therefore, I participate (even if just a little) in the big lie.
Maybe this is a good Lenten resolution: go ahead and give up chocolate cake, but go one better and give up lying.
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