I guess all of us tell some whoppers every now and then—little white lies or really big ones.
A young couple was excited when the news came that the wife was pregnant. Wow! And when that baby was born nothing could compare to the excitement they felt. But it wasn’t long till they found themselves sleeping at odd hours and overwhelmed with washing the baby’s clothes, buying diapers, etc. The baby had brought changes to their lives that they had never dreamed. It was wonderful but difficult.
Well, a new movie came out that they both wanted to see. Grandparents lived too far away to watch the newborn and at this point they didn’t trust anyone else to watch their kid. So, they opted to take the three-month-old to the movies with them.
As they entered the theatre, the manager warned them, that if the baby became a noisy problem, they would have to leave. The manager said, “We will refund your money but you will have to leave.” So, they got popcorn and settled into their seats.
Thirty minutes into the movie, the husband asked his wife, “How do you like the movie?”
“It’s rotten,” she said.
“I think so too,” he said. “Pinch the baby.”
Even ministers struggle with truth telling.
Tom is a pastor who will do anything to make his church grow. Anything. So, one day he had an idea that he would build a Sunday night worship service around mimes. He would invite a couple of mimes to church and let them perform. Folk would line up to see worship built around mime, he thought. He went to the deacons of the church to ask their opinion. They said sure, that’s a great idea. Well, when Sunday night rolled around, the only people who showed up were Tom and the mimes. Everyone else stayed home to watch the NFL on Sunday Night.
Tom’s deacons are nice people, who would rather be nice than tell the truth. They knew that having mimes lead worship was a bad idea, but they were too nice to tell the truth. Tom was so frustrated by that, he made a commitment to start telling the truth to others, even when it hurt. He went to his church secretary, who did the newsletter. It was the worst newsletter in the entire Kingdom of God. He told her it needed some sprucing up and that she should stop printing the names of those who missed church. So, she did, but to retaliate against him, she started rating his sermons in the newsletter, from one to five.
Paul may have been talking about mimes and newsletters when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.” When truth is lacking, then love cannot be found. But when we value truth over niceness, than love has a chance. Truth is the highest expression of love.
People are of course, pretty good at disguising their lies. The writer of Proverbs in chapter 6 says that there are six things that God hates, yes, seven. If I have a list of things that God hates, then I’m going to pay attention to that list. I don’t want to be doing anything that God hates. On that list, two of them (lying tongue and a false witness) have to do with lying. So, it is not OK to lie to your spouse, your mom or dad, your best friend, your business partner, to yourself, or to God.
There is a psychological axiom, “We can’t correct a reality that we deny.” We had a friend years ago in a church who played the piano for worship. She and her husband were good friends. We hung out with them a lot. We ate dinner in their home many times; our young kids played together. We discovered that she had a drug problem. Sheri and some friends confronted her about it, and as you might expect, she denied it. A couple of years ago, we got the phone call in the night to tell us that she had died, probably from a drug overdose.
We would all be a lot happier and healthier if we were more honest.
But, yes I know. That would mean new parents, with their baby, would have to sit through a really bad movie.