“The weight of lies’ll bring you down and follow you to every town…” – Scott Avett
A quick look at the sports headlines from the last week makes it quite obvious that we live in a dishonest society. For starters, we have Tiger Woods. He regained some fans from his performance at the Masters, but his dishonest lifestyle of the past few years continues to keep old fans from cheering for him. Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice yesterday because of his deceptiveness in answering questions under oath. Manny Ramirez was busted for steroids last weekend. Instead of taking the mandatory 100 game suspension for his second offense, he simply retired, avoiding the punishment altogether. That’s just the sports news for the last week. We could look into Hollywood or the political world and find even more deception and dishonesty.
The fact is, this isn’t limited to celebrities. As humans, our first reaction to getting caught is typically to try and cover for ourselves with a slightly different “version of the truth.” We see it all the way back in Genesis, with Joseph’s brothers presenting his blood-stained coat to their father to deceive him into thinking Joseph had been killed by an animal. The other problem we have as humans is that our ego can get in the way. It’s very, very difficult to say “I was wrong” and apologize, but we find it easy to push the blame on someone else or deceive ourselves and others. However, our response to sin should not be to cover it up or to find the way out of the consequences; we should rather be looking for the best way to fix our mistake.
Tiger Woods has apologized, but he really isn’t much different as a person. Barry Bonds has been busted, but he still refuses to apologize. Manny Ramirez admitted to his lying and cheating by walking away from the consequences. That’s not what the Bible teaches.
Proverbs 12:19 and 22 show how God feels about lying. Our culture shows us that it’s perfectly normal to lie and deceive to get out of sticky situations. God’s prescription is a little different (James 5:16). As good church-going people, though, we don’t want people to know we have flaws. That mindset just sets us up for failure and a tendency to be dishonest in covering up the problems in our lives. It’s not our job to be perfect. It’s our job to try our best and let Christ make up the difference. The mark of a Christian isn’t perfection, it’s the ability to admit to mistakes and overcome them through Christ rather than trying to deceive others into thinking we don’t make mistakes.