Many of us struggle with the truth. In fact, many of us are so in the habit of lying that we lie even when it would be easier to tell the truth. Someone asks us a question – perhaps about why we do something – and we answer with a lie when we could just as easily answer with a very truthful, “because that’s how I choose to do it.” Of course, we imagine we are quite slick – that nobody could possibly tell we are lying. The newsflash is that the odds are very good that we aren’t fooling anybody.
I’d like to propose an experiment. For the next seven days, keep track of how many times you tell a lie. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, or why you lied, or what you hoped to achieve. Just keep track every day and when you get home write the number down on a piece of paper. Before you go to bed, add how many additional lies you have told. Use additional sheets if necessary. At the end of the week, collect all your pieces of paper and come up with a total. Once you have a total, cut the crap and add in all the lies you “forgot” to record. Then answer this question: Who am I? Do you even know any more?
The truth is, if we ever want to have a spiritual life we need to get honest – and we need to start with ourselves and rapidly move to everyone around us. Nobody living an inauthentic life ever had a satisfactory spiritual life, because if you can’t be honest with yourself you sure aren’t going to be honest with God.
If you are clergy, we have a real problem.