Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Of Truth and Deception

Few things make me angry anymore. I certainly grew up with many expectations of how things should be, and when they didn't turn out as planned - be that poor customer service, perceived injustices that I suffered at the hands of others, political wranglings that I thought were patently unfair, or simple opportunities that always seemed to land on someone else's doorstep - I was always ready to pounce with a well-rationalized righteous indignation against whatever perceived problem existed. Over the years, I've learned to let most of my expectations go and with those expectations, my anger has largely gone, too. But one thing still makes me very angry, and nothing can compare to my anger against blatant lies.

Lies are particularly offensive to me because they not only disturb our ability to trust (thus causing unnecessary disharmony), they distort our picture of reality. They make the truth relative, and seemingly elusive. And after a while, in the absense of truth, we begin to believe the lies - accepting them as defacto truth, even though we once knew differently.

The most profound lie is one whose seed implants in our soul and is watered by others so frequently that it takes deep roots, wrapping itself around our heart to the point where we see it as indistinguishable from who we are and who we can become.

Such lies commonly are planted from the words of others. Statements such as "You're ugly", "You're such a clutz", "You're an inadequate parent", "You're so prone to sickness", or "You just can't do anything right, can you?" permeate our thinking and after the initial impact wears off, we begin to accept these statements as truth. Once we've accepted the lie as truth, we begin to make other decisions in our lives that are based upon those underlying premises - and as such we then compound and validate the lie even more.

The longer we accept the underlying premise of the lie, the more decisions we take that provide validation to its existence, and the more it becomes a fundamental part of our belief and value system. What follows, then, is that once we have accepted the lie as truth for ourselves, we begin to propagate it to others. In essence, we harvest the fruits of the lie from our own life, then unknowingly plant it into the lives of others. Such is the consequence of not taking the time and opportunity to refute the lies in our own lives - we not only harm ourselves, but we also harm others.

So often these untruths initiate from a careless choice of words that another person uses in our presence. It may have been sarcasm, or it may have been said from selfish motivations or frustration by another, but the effect is the same. I believe that words are spiritual and that if they are not blessings, they are curses. Having seen familial patterns play out, I believe that many curses are generational. When we speak, we must realize the power that our words have to potentially effect generations of people.

I know from personal experience that the words that have hurt me the most, and the ones that have had the greatest impact on me, are usually the little things. Things that I have remembered for a lifetime, but the person who said the words probably forgot they said them five minutes after they left their mouth. This experience has led me to try and monitor the things that I say very closely, because once a curse is uttered, you can't take it back. All that's left at that point is the ability to ask forgiveness - an opportunity that not all of us will have. Will you ever really see that person in the Wal-Mart checkout lane again? Tell them they're ugly, though, and your words will potentially pierce them for a lifetime.

In the Garden of Eden, God created mankind "in His image". A mirror image is a perfect reflection of the original. Yes, God created us as a pure spirit. Our disobedience and pride has soiled that reflection. The lies that we have believed make the reflection harder to identify. But the good thing about a mirror is that no matter how soiled it becomes, when we take a little Windex and some old rags to it, it washes right off and you can see your reflection in it again.

My encouragement to anyone who reads this is to examine the utter shit that we have come to believe is truth. Discard it to where shit belongs. Then begin to live your life again modeled upon the truth...the truth that you have intrinsic worth - worth that does not come from the things you've done in the past (or will do in the future); worth that does not come from the attainment of some goal or the possession of some phyical feature; rather, worth from the fact that you are not an illegitimate spiritual bastard child, but that you were literally created in love. Your worth comes from the beautiful and utterly perfect creation that you are. Dusty as the mirror may have become from a lifetime of believing and acting upon deceit, the truth is that you are beautiful. Accept it. Then share it.

Seek forgiveness from whom you are led to seek forgiveness. Ultimately, though, I'm certain that that list of people will surely include yourself.