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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Liar Liar

Have you ever seen the movie, Liar Liar? Jim Carrey plays a lawyer without apparent scruples who finds himself the victim of his son's birthday wish that he couldn't lie for 24 hours. What follows is funny and, behind it, thought provoking.

Have you ever considered what your life would be like if you could not lie? I don't mean what many might mean. There are those (no small number, I think) that believe that "not lying" means "always saying everything". If you withhold information that no one requested, that's a lie. If you don't tell your spouse about a childhood friend, you're a liar. I'm not talking about that kind of honesty. I'm simply talking about no longer being deceptive. You wouldn't embellish stories to make yourself look better or someone else worse. You wouldn't make up excuses that aren't true because the true reason you're not going to that family gathering is you can't stand Aunt Mavis. You wouldn't lie to your customers about the quality of the product or to your boss about the hours you've worked. You wouldn't pass the blame for things you were responsible for. Instead of "No, honey, those pants don't make your butt look big," you'd tell the truth. (I'm leaving that open for you to come up with a possible truthful answer without requiring that you upset your wife.) Of real importance, you wouldn't lie to yourself. Are you fudging your diet because you're actually too hungry not to, or is it because of something else? Are you complimenting your spouse because you really believe it is due, or are you doing it to get something in return (or avoid something in return)? When you think down this path, there seems to be no limits to the lies we tell or, at least, for our opportunities to do so.

We are commanded to "put away falsehood" and "speak the truth with his neighbor" (Eph 4:25). We are told to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Indeed, this is part of our process of growing up into Christ (Eph 4:15-16). I'm not suggesting "brutal honesty", as if that's a virtue. But if we're supposed to put away falsehood and speak the truth, we should do it. We should do it regularly. We should do it in love. Even to ourselves.

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