I have a 7 year old at home. She is a bright, sweet, inquisitive little creature who watches me and notices everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. What this means for me is that I end up having some very interesting conversations way earlier than I would have ever thought necessary. When I got pregnant with her brother, she had just turned 4. She was fascinated with all things pregnancy related and needed the details on how this was all gonna work. You can imagine the things overheard at my house…
Recently, our conversations have centered around lying. What lying is, why it’s never good, how it hurts us and hurts others. We are also talking about how we deal when others lie to us or about us. There have been some real deep heart conversations about relationships and character. One of the main things I have tried to teach her is that lying is really pointless because what is done in the dark ALWAYS comes out in the light. Always. It may not be immediate, but the truth has a way of making itself known. You never really get away with dishonesty.
Why do we lie? One reason is self-protection. For whatever reason, we do not believe that we or our truth will suffice. And I would even go one step deeper and say that we lie because we believe that WE are not enough. We try to protect others from seeing the unpretty parts of us instead of just owning our mistakes and letting our faults be seen. Another reason we lie is people pleasing. It’s hard to know we are letting somebody down or not meeting their expectations. But you can’t make everybody happy all of the time. (see blog entitled Boundaries for more on this!) Just be honest about what you can and can’t do and let the other person deal with their disappointment. It is not your job to manage their emotions.
What does lying do? It separates us. From others. From God. From our true self. It destroys relationships. When we lie, we create a space for the enemy to fill. And fill it, he will. He fills it with all sorts of nasty junk that can take months or even years to clean up. Every time we lie, it gets a little easier and we get a little more comfortable. Over a lifetime, it can become our modus operandi, the way we conduct ourselves. The bible says in 1 Timothy 4:2 that our conscience becomes seared. At that point, we no longer feel the effects of the dishonesty. YIKES! That’s a slippery slope, sister friend.
The other thing that has come up through these conversations is that we should never say something ABOUT someone that we would never say TO someone. Meaning: don’t let your mouth write a check your butt can’t cash. Life is full of tough conversations and it is always better to deal with the problem head on than to go in the back door in an effort to avoid conflict. Nobody LIKES conflict. If you do, you got bigger issues than I can help you with. But our ability to learn conflict resolution and practice it in all our affairs is really the basis for the depth of our relationships in general. There is no relationship on earth that is immune to the occasional bout of confrontation. It is such a necessary skill to navigate the waters of our interpersonal lives.
Bur HOW we handle conflict really does determine the quality of the relationships we have. If we run from conflict or mistakes and hide behind untruth, we have negated any level of authenticity or vulnerability achieved in the relationship. We basically undo all the hard work we have done to build the relationship in the first place.
Here’s the thing: lying is like paying stupid tax on an already dumb decision. Do you really wanna pay up twice? Not me. Mama likes to get paid. So if I’ve made a choice that has already cost me, why not just cut my losses and move on? Fess up, own it, and then get back to work. It is SO much easier that way and hurts so much less in the long run. It’s like I teach my children the minute they come out of the womb. Good choices have good consequences and bad choices have bad consequences. The seeds we plant determine the harvest we reap in our lives and in our relationships.