Love v Lies
Everybody is lying. Everybody feels it, and everybody agrees. We don’t know what to believe.
Six years ago this December, our family grew from five to seven. Today, I can honestly say, my heart knows no difference between my sons of adoption, and those of my womb. Which is a miracle, really. Six short years have knit us together, and what God has joined, let no man part. (An interesting side note. I recently learned you can “un-inherit” your biological offspring, but not your adopted children! Not that I’ve been noodling on either option, of course…)
Anyway. At first, it wasn’t so easy. For any of us. The fairytale of sharing your bread with those who need it, is hard-core tested by the realities of cultures clashing. Which ours did. Felipe and Jimmy are from Colombia. Born and raised to their early teens on South American soil, where Felipe is residing again today. And our family quickly discovered, Minnesota nice is not the same as Colombian spice. But each has its own form of lying.
Everyone is lying.
Over time, we made this discovery about cultural values—and I think the discovery is relevant, today. It would seem—and I will admit this is a generalization—in a country where you have to scrap for mere survival—there’s such a thing as a very good lie. As a matter of fact, in some situations, a bald-faced lie is as good as wisdom. (Equally true. It is never, ever, ever, a good idea to snitch on someone.)
But here in Minnesota, our lying comes in a different flavor. Call it passive-aggressive. Or fake-nice. We carefully craft our words to serve our desires. This is confession. Guilty as charged. Born and raised on this cultural soil. (Also. Snitching and then pretending you didn’t is for sure a thing.)
So. Here we are, 2020 winding to a close, and no one wonders IF it’s happening. We’re just trying to figure out how much, and how often.
Some lying is survival. Perceived threats to life as we know it, and we’re out of options. We can’t let this ____ (choose your own worst-case scenario) happen to us—not now or ever. We are just that desperate, and so we lie.
Others are more subtle. A counter-tactic. I’m not letting so-and-so tell me what to do. So I’ll bend the rules, a harmless cheat, in order to have my life the way I like it.
Am I making this up? I don’t think so.
The solution? (Wait for it. You had to know this was coming, didn’t you?)
Jesus. Didn’t. Lie.
(Jesus did one time produce coins for a tax from the mouth of a fish. So I’ll admit, he had some pretty nice options. That said…)
Here it is, straight from this morning’s Bible reading:
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:17-18
I know, you’re maybe wondering, what does this passage have to do with lying? How about this…
In this world we are like Jesus.
We. You. Me. Are LIKE JESUS.
And Jesus doesn’t lie.
But also this—and I would argue this is what it really comes down to—Jesus doesn’t fear.
We lie because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of losing our rights, or being treated unfairly. We’re afraid of the worst bad things we can imagine. Projected long-term, never-ending, dismal future. We’re scared.
This I remember, all too well. Those early days of becoming a family. We were terrified. Every last one of us, scared out of our minds.
But perfect love drives out fear.
And I am here as one who has made it to the other side, and I tell you this without reservation…
Love beats the fear out of all of us liars.