Eric's Sunday Sermon; On The Matter of Lying
Beautiful from France
Is anything really a lie?
You lie. It is hard for you to be honest. It is a matter of both nature and nurture. You simply lie. Let us examine that truth. Good and bad and warts and honey and all of it. Please keep in mind that there is absolutely no commandment against lying. Lying is not a sin in the 10 commandments area. For sure the Ninth commandment is this; Exodus 20:16: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”* Yes the easiest way to look at such a notion is to look at honesty first. Perhaps through that examination we can see lying at work.
Some honesty is good and some is bad. We know you were taught by your parental teacher that honesty is always good. Well maybe you were in one of those unfortunate households that kind of rely upon money from the government. That is a tough one because the way it works is really not that honest. Please hold that thought, we are talking of welfare fudgers.
Honesty is the relating of that which we believe is true. Being an honest person means that you hold that value and act accordingly. Be careful here because you might be relating what you think is true to yourself, and not so less frequently to your God. Mantras, prayers and self-affirmations are scary places to look for honesty.
In 12 step programs when people talk during a session they start by saying “My name is Eric and I am an” fill in the blank. Affirming that they have a condition, seemingly they become someone afflicted as their self-identity. I remember a group when I had cancer real bad, and they would introduce/identify themselves by the name of the cancer that they had, I only went once. I enjoy at parties to ask people “what are you?” – I know it is rude and I should say it more appropriately. But no one has ever baulked at telling me what they did for a living or being a homemaker like me. Now when asked back I love to say “I write sermons”. I do not say “I am a sermon writer”. What are you? “What I am” is critical to honesty yet no one really achieves full knowledge of who they are.
Honesty about who we are is our first step toward knowing when and why we lie. I self-deprecate. It is easy, normally offends no one. Normally it is a half-truth. But when someone needs my help I become Eric who is the best that can be found. Does reality shift thereby excusing harsh honesty and lying?
*At the time it took two straight up witnesses to convict another of a wrong – like a modern day evidence statute.
What's love got to do with it? What's truth have to do with it?
I like this because the cliffs appear Vermillion
Don't let me tell you what is true, but I can tell you what I think is true.
Thanks for sticking with us as we laid some fundamentals down. It would seem that gratitude and appreciation are real good places to find honesty. It is a boom bada bing deal. We just feel grateful and thankful sometimes after someone gives us a blessing. And then we say thanks. It is like no thought involved. That part just is not filtered through thought or ego. Here is a funny one. I have to teach my son to say thank you and please. My wife is of the opine that those words are unnecessary. She holds a position that they are done by the obvious of action. Interesting don’t you think? If I accept your kindness it is automatic that I appreciate it – total truth. No words.
I wrote some song lyrics back in my purple haze college days. They went like this “lie to me, do not tell me that you don’t love me. For it will take what I have left and leave me adrift” Isn’t that a sad notion? And yet we live it day to day. We require that others are not brutally honest with us. And that probably is very sad.
This is what I consider loving. Be harsh with me. And then take the time to be with me and work it through with me. Say it and then help me to get it. I do not want to go through life wrong. I want friends who voice their truths to me so that I might better understand “the” truth. But when it is hard I want some hand holding. Is that too much to ask?
We often think of white lies as bad. Should we? What people seldom empathize with is that white lies are hard on us. Just the act of speaking that which we know not to be true is hard on a normal person. We are conditioned to not lie and so when we do it feels bad. So we wonder about who we are and if we are right with that. Sometimes painful.
I must tell the truth; if you do not tap your foot to this, something is wrong.
Just a path no more no less
This is not reality anarchy, I believe in many truths. If you do not stand for something you will fall for anything.
For traditionalists wouldn’t it have been kinder for the ninth commandment to say thou shalt not lie. Then we would not have this matter of determining when it is OK to lie and when it is not. And that brings us back to ourselves. I just can’t help lying to myself. It is tough. Perhaps the future is where I lie the most. My insides will tell me that “it will fail”. Harsh judgment and prediction that 90% of the time is false. Anticipatory anxiety over a matter that really only effects my surface level of self-esteem. And yet the truth be told I like the response to my failures as much as my victories. Being consoled is really kind of nice. Sympathy is a nice thing to receive.
For us chocolate addicts we lie hard to ourselves. “Oh just one bite won’t hurt me” knowing full damn well I will eat the whole box of chocolates once I start. One of my favorite lies to myself is “I do not care what others think”. Balderdash! How about “I will…. Tomorrow?” “I shoulds” and “I can’ts” are my most frequent lies.
So how can a man of such perpetual lying be honest with his best friend? I think the biggest impediment here is that it just takes so much time to be honest and then understanding. We may not lie, but we do not always tell the truth because of the inconvenience and disruption to our lives. And then we sooner or later see that the lack of telling the truth has damaged our relationship.
To lie or not to lie, that is the question. Whether it be noble to tell the truth and immediately suffer the consequences or noble to lie and put them off.
I hope that we can reflect on these hard issues. I reckon I do not expect answers coming down like manna from heaven. Somewhere along the line we all have to take responsibility for our decisions regarding truth. It does come down to love. We had better make sure that our choices on lying are not based on love of self but rather the wonderful communal love that we cherish. If my lying breaks the connection of love between me and another and me and my God, it is wrong. We must at least consider the larger picture. Go ahead you rapscallions blame me next time you lie, my shoulders are broad enough to carry it.