Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chickens come home to roost

This past week I shared a message at Christian High's last chapel service from Psalm 15. One of my points was"Tell the Truth." J. Budwinski writes in a recent book about how there is a seven-step descent trail when it comes to lying. Each level down involves a different nuance for what too easily become the habitual liar. From telling lies to get out of situations caused by previous lies and even for the liar to beginning to believe the lies, there comes a place where the conscience has become so seared that a person invents different types of lies for any variety of people. When caught in a lie, the person who is called to the carpet may express surprise that anyone considers this such a big deal. After all, some might argue, everyone does it, so why get so upset?

This week's Time magazine's cover story reminded me of this problem that seems to be more prevalent than ever before. It read: "Sex. Lies. Arrogance, What Makes Powerful Men Act Like Pigs*." The *, it explained at the bottom next to the picture of a porker reads, stood for "No offense." (May 30, 2011)

Written by Nancy Gibbs, the article discusses the private lifestyle of French politician Dominque Strauss-Kahn and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Californian governor. I'm not hear to bash anyone here--after all, let him who has no sin cast the first stone--but read what Gibbs wrote about the very sad situation of the former Olympian and his wife:

"As for Schwarzenegger's latest revelation, it was agony to imagine what must have run through Maria Shriver's head when she discovered the truth. Here she was, daughter of a great political dynasty with its own zipper issues, who had drawn on her feminist capital to save her husband's career at a crucial moment in his gubernatorial campaign. In 2003, more than a dozen women accused hi of harassing and groping them through the years, including on the set of his film Predator. Shriver testified to his character in words that voters believed: 'You can listen to all the negativity, and you can listen to people who have never met Arnold, who met him for five seconds 30 years ago,' she said. 'Or you can listen to me.'

"Now it emerges that even as she was defending his honor, he was deceiving both her and the voters. Confronted by the Los Angeles Times, he admitted that all along he had been supporting the child he had with an employee more than a decade ago. That finally explained why, back in January, Shriver moved out of the house."

Here's a woman--whether or not you like her liberal Kennedy family--who apparently believed her husband's deceit and defended him, based on his lying promise that the allegations were false. While I can be very forgiving of immature and even bad behavior, lying is not something that sets well with me. When I used to catch cheater who then lied to me, I became triple angry. As if cheating wasn't bad enough.

In addition, I believe this is not a sin that God takes lightly. Consider the story in Acts 5 of Ananias and Sapphira, both of whom lied about giving all their proceeds of a recent sale of land. Nobody said they had to give everything to the church, but by lying, they wanted to make themselves look good. Both were struck dead. This is not an Old Testament story, which we often attribute in cases such as these. It takes place after the time of Jesus.

What I have written is being preached to me as well. I must watch what I say and let no lie come from my mouth. Becoming a habitual liar is way too tempting. Being a person of integrity is the only way to live.

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