SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Smoke and MIrrorsI will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will You come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. Psalm 101:2

 

Pathological liars fascinate me. Maybe I feel this way because the concept of integrity is so very important to me. As a child, I could not trust my alcoholic mother to tell me the truth or to do what she promised. Now, as an adult and a retired counselor, I seem to hold myself and others to a higher standard because I have seen first-hand how lying is so hurtful to the liar and the recipient.

 

Pathological lying is defined as “a long history of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned” (source: Psychological Times). “Normal” liars feel remorseful; but guilt, shame, regret, or even possible consequences do not affect the behavior of the pathological liar. Diagnoses vary depending on other personality factors, and treatment is difficult if not impossible because the liar doesn’t want the therapist to know the truth (if indeed the liar gets as far as the therapist’s office in the first place). I can still picture Bernie Madoff looking so shocked in news clips when he was arrested for bilking hundreds of senior citizens out of their life savings through his Ponzi schemes.

 

What does God say about lying? Obviously, He doesn’t condone it, since He Himself is Truth personified. Proverbs 12:22 says, “The Lord detests lying lips.” Paul states in Romans 1 that the ungodly (including liars) “are without excuse…For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

 

American evangelist Rick Warren says, “Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up.” Christians are commanded by God to treat people fairly and honestly (Leviticus 19:35-36). By insisting on our good behavior, God protects us from getting into trouble (Psalm 25:21). And Proverbs 28:6 says integrity is more valuable than riches. The indwelling God is not about smoke and mirrors; He’s about honesty and transparency.

 

Lord, guard my heart and mind against those who use lies to hurt others. Amen

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