My own worst enemy. Can’t get out of my own way. Uttered countless times, bordering on cliche, but no less true. If Satan is Public Enemy #1, then we are Public Enemy #1B, co-conspirators from the beginning. The first lie recorded in Scripture was uttered by the snake, but he didn’t have the ability to force Adam and Eve to accept it. They were willing dissenters. It could have ended right there had Satan been rebuked, told to go back from where he came. But there was an appeal in what Satan offered beyond the fact that the fruit was pleasing to the eye and good for food. What Satan offered was to be like God. And to be like God is to be in control. In control of destiny and reality. Curiosity killed the cat. Curiosity cursed mankind. And while we did become conscious of good and evil, our capacity for the latter kept us as far away from God-like as possible.
From that day denial, deception, omission, and fabrication became part of the human condition, birthed from the Father of Lies. We began to use lies to manipulate the world (and still do, of course). We continue to accept lies, leaving us naked and exposed. Often times the lies come from within. Fooling ourselves into behavior we pretend isn’t detrimental to our being. The truth seeker must understand this. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Good and evil diametrically opposed, living inside us. This is the plight, a heavy burden. Complicated by our propensity to first judge others before we ever dare peer inside. The consequences of which Jesus makes quite clear.
Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Sort yourself out seems to be the prevailing message. Why? Because how can we see with a plank in our eye? We can’t, the truth is not revealed to the blind. So why do we spend so much time focusing on the faults of others and not our own? It obvious, it’s easier. And generally less painful. Looking inside takes responsibility, and let’s face it, what’s buried underneath is not hidden treasure. Much the opposite. There’s an endless amount to purge as we have not yet been made perfect and restored to paradise. Even those who ardently seek righteousness fall short of the glory of God. But persistence is still rewarded during this life.
In rehab they say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. And that’s just what those who seek the truth must do. Because admission begins to loosen the shackles of deceit. While never forgetting our ability to deceive keeps them loosened. Self-awareness goes hand in hand with admission. And while grace assuredly abounds, it should not be taken advantage of. There’s no benefit to willful insubordination.
So, if admission and awareness are the first two steps of combating our capacity for deceit then the third step that logically follows is to tell the truth. All. The. Time. And if your first thought is that you already do, then either you have completely sorted yourself out and have no need for the ramblings of this post, or more likely you are neither aware of, or have admitted, your aptitude for self-deception. I’ll bet on the latter.
Consistently telling the truth is no easy task. And it’s certainly not a license to offend. It takes practice. Start by telling yourself the truth. The truth about yourself. Where you fall short. What you struggle with. How you can do better. Remove the plank from your eye sliver by sliver, but be prepared, it will take time and the task is never truly complete. Then as you become comfortable with self-sincerity practice being consciously honest with those around you (not that you should be consciously dishonest in the meantime). You may be surprised how often you sugarcoat things, tell half-truths and untruths, and even flat out lie. Don’t be alarmed, though, remember the condition we are born with, the inclination to deceive.
And through all of it know that we have been given a guide that will help us along the journey. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, an ever present check and balance, ready to dwell inside of those who are willing. The Spirit will make it abundantly clear –
Honesty, is not only the best policy, it’s the ONLY policy for the Truth Seeker.