There are logical reasons why someone might choose to live a lie. You can imagine people who cannot face up to the way they lived in the past; still others others who fear people would reject them if they shared the truth about themselves today. But I suppose the worst excuse for lying to yourself would be in the name of Jesus. Not only we they suffer the consequences of practicing self-deceit, but we frequently drag family, friends and even churches along for the nightmare as well!
Here are 3 popular lies that followers of Christ should confess and get over:
“It’s not a problem. I’m fine, seriously. Praise the Lord!” Trusting the Father’s purposes and power doesn’t mean that life never hurts. God’s perfect will can be incredibly painful! If you don’t believe that, ask Paul or Simon Peter or Stephen… or Jesus! When life delivers a major blow to your health or your family or your plans, you can acknowledge how disappointing it feels at the moment, even while you trust God to turn lemons into lemonade. Jesus did not lose one ounce of his perfection when he prayed through his emotions about the cross just before his arrest. He had emotions because he was human.
Faith is not reflected in false smiles and platitudes. Before Paul discovered that God can be glorified in our weakness, he asked Him three times to take away his thorn in the flesh. At least twice, he was disappointed. The church would be a healthier place if we all learned how to grieve over our disappointments rather than taking our frustrations out on friends when we’re actually angry at God.
“Of course, I’ll be glad to pray about that with you.” I don’t know many people who boast about their amazing memory. In fact, I find that most people keep calendars, and to do lists, and all kinds of reminders because they are afraid of forgetting things. That’s why I am mystified by all the people around churches who gladly accept dozens of personal prayer requests in a morning without ever writing any of them down! Do most of us really enjoy such instant recall that we later retrieve a dozen random prayer concerns that came our way during the morning?
What kind of jerk refuses prayer requests,right? Well, there are alternatives to being either a louse or a liar. Between those two extremes, there’s wisdom to be found in saying, “Hey, let’s just pray about it now.” Then pause and pray on the spot. Otherwise, you and I should use a notepad or smart phone to jot down requests we promised to remember later. Jesus said my yes should mean yes, and my no should mean no. Just a thought.
“I don’t need to love my enemies. I don’t have any enemies.” Isn’t it ironic that Jesus encountered bitter adversaries at every turn, but you and I have only friends and acquaintances? No wonder Christ explained, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” Anyone who walks in faith with Christ will sooner or later encounter critics, opponents, assailants, and traitors. Blanket amnesty with a phony smile will not suffice. You will need to pray for them frequently, intentionally release your hostility toward them, and constantly refuse the emotional narcotic of victim status.
True forgiveness is not impossible, but it’s not easy either. And the hard work of forgiveness begins with the truth that people have hurt you in word or deed, and that you do have anger to process. Part of spiritual warfare is trusting the Spirit to help you deal with rage that simmers just below the surface. Forgiveness means acting out God’s grace through faith one day at a time until if finally becomes real in relationship.
No more lies. Let’s be the kind of saints who live like the Truth will really set us free.
And lift up the Cross!