We Prefer People Lie Rather than Be Honest
As Christians I think we’ve adopted a sliding scale of honesty. We look at situations in the news, with the IRS or other scandalous stories and we want to know the truth. We pound our fists and demand truth. The truth is supposed to win. The truth is supposed to set us free.
But in the Church, I am not sure we’re comfortable with people being truthful.
Authenticity has become a buzz word in Christianity over the past several years. We want to be authentic. We have a list of socially acceptable sins that as we feel comfortable confessing.
Most of the time the sins we don’t lie about are more behaviors than heart issues: we are too busy, we aren’t having a consistent quiet time, we lost our temper, we need to be more disciplined. We feel better because we confessed something and others perceive us as authentic.
But what about deep core issues? What about heart issues and sexual brokenness and inner thoughts and dark parts of our soul? Do we really feel comfortable with people being honest about things that we try so hard to pretend like we don’t struggle with?
Here are three reasons why I think we prefer people lie to us than be honest:
1. We like sanitized Christianity more than messy Christianity.
We want people to believe that Jesus fixes everything. If we’re honest about our struggles, sins and mistakes then what does that do to our faith and what does it say about Jesus? Isn’t it better to pretend we’re all put together so that people think Christianity is this “once and done” decision that you make and the rest of your life you live in freedom? Messy Christianity may confuse people. We prefer the sanitized version of people over the messy version, because that appears to be more Christ-like, even though it’s fake.
2. We see the honesty of others and it confronts the dishonesty in us.
I’ve been in conversations with people at times and they bare their soul and are completely vulnerable with me. God has used their total honesty to confront dishonesty in me that I have grown comfortable living with. When someone is transparent, it is like they hold up a mirror to us and we are able to see ourselves in relationship to the pure truth that is being shared. Judgmentalism rises from knowing the truth in others but living in denial about about the truth of ourselves.
3. We’re more comfortable with the fake versions of others.
Knowing someones hurts, fears, wounds, struggles and sins requires more of me than knowing the fake version of them. I like my perception you. I don’t like knowing your baggage or your past or your mistakes. Knowledge is responsibility. If I know the real you, then I have a responsibility to you that is greater than if I just superficially knew you. I don’t have time for that (remember I confessed to you how busy I am). We’d almost prefer others be fake with us so we can continue being fake with them.
My prayer for us is that we have the courage not just to say we want to be authentic, but to embrace the cost of authenticity.