Freedom · spiritual growth

Two Truths and a Lie

maxresdefaultWhen my children were teenagers they taught me a game. The name of the game was, “Two Truths and a Lie” and it was a great way to pass time while waiting for our food at a restaurant, when standing in line at an amusement park, or while riding in the minivan. The conversational game was as simple as its name. One person would list two things that were true and one thing that was a lie. The others players would then guess which two were the truths and which one was the lie.

Here’s an example:

  • A)  Before my mother was married she worked as a lingerie model.
  • B)  Since marrying my husband, we have lived in 14 different homes.
  • C)  I wrote the entire first draft of my fictional manuscript, Kimly’s Trade, in 7 weeks.

So, which are the truths? And which one is the lie?

The lie is “B”. Since marrying my husband we have actually lived in 15 different homes. #packingpro

I’ve come to realize that a lot of us play a more harmful variation of “Two Truths and a Lie” and when we do, we are overwhelmed with unnecessary shame and fear. What happens is we take two indisputable truths and while pondering them, we allow a lie to seep into the mix. Here’s an example of a version I’ve been struggling through over the last couple weeks.

  • A)  My very pregnant daughter needs help with her sick toddler.
  • B)  I live over 350 miles away.
  • C)  Because of my poor choices, I had to move away and now (once again) I have failed the ones I love the most.

So, which are the truths? And which one is the lie?

In this game the lie is easy for you to spot for a couple reasons. First, you love me…or you don’t, but either way, you want to believe there is something decent about me, or you wouldn’t be reading my blog. Because of that you want me to forgive myself and move on. You want me to start new and let the past stay in the past. The second reason you can see the obvious lie is because you are not emotionally attached to my situation. It doesn’t boil your blood, which allows you to see “C” as a lie.

But what happens when it is you? How can you spot the lie when the game is boiling your blood and you don’t even realize you’re playing “Two Truths and a Lie” because it feels like you’re playing “I’m the Biggest Loser Ever…and Here is My List of Reasons Why”

Well, you’ll certainly get no sideways glances from me for playing the second game; I’ve definitely played the “I’m the Biggest Loser Ever” game myself. However, in some of my more sane moments, I’ve come to recognize a couple things about “Two Truths and a Lie.”

First of all, the lie is bathed in judgment. Look at the items on your list and pull out the ones that have judgment attached to them. Chances are they are not indisputable truths. The things that we know about ourselves to be absolute truths will only lead us to a place of judgment if we need to change the way we are living. If we have overcome, if we are making steps to move towards a better way of living, if we are honestly trying to restore what was damaged—there is no room for judgment.

None. Judgment was necessary, but the work there is done and judgment has passed.

The second thing I have come to recognize about playing “Two Truths and a Lie” is that the lie always sneaks in super-duper close to the truths. (Yes, I said duper…that’s how close it is.) Remember the original lie in the first game. I said:

  • B)  Since marrying my husband, we have lived in 14 different homes.

The true answer of 15 different homes was super-duper close. It was almost accurate. Well, that’s the way the enemy gets us to fall for lies. The lie isn’t glaringly obvious. If I had said, “Since marrying my husband, we have lived in 3 different homes”, most of you would have been able to do a quick inventory of what you know about me and saw that as a lie.  An obvious lie is easy to spot. But, when it is almost accurate, it’s tougher to discern. In my second game, I said:

  • C)  Because of my poor choices, I had to move away and now (once again) I have failed the ones I love the most.

While the answer is riddled with judgment, it also holds some accuracy. I did make poor choices, and that did set off a chain reaction leading to our relocation. But, I am not failing the ones I love the most. There is the judgement. There is the lie.

By removing judgment, the statement loses it’s power over me. It turns “Two Truths and a Lie” into, “Three Parts of an Ongoing Story”

I’m not entirely sure why I felt led to share this game of “Two Truths and a Lie” with you. Lately, blogging is a conundrum in and of itself. While writing each post, I know two truths:

  • A) I have to do what I am called to do because that’s what gives me life.
  • B) I am called to write.

But after the post has published, I usually hear a lie. It doesn’t take long before I question the validity of everything I wrote. By the end of the day I have heaped scores of judgment on myself for all that I have publicly shared through blogging. I see a list of people making huge strides to make the world a better place, and I’m not on that list. The moment after the moment I blog is pretty much a nightmare.

Thus, I make a new choice…Today, I refuse to play “Two Truths and a Lie.” I choose instead to look for a third truth, and I choose to see it all as part of an ongoing story.

affair recovery · spiritual growth

What I’ve Learned About Lying

I have come to realize that one of the worst things about lying to someone is what it tells them about trusting the Holy Spirit in their own life.

Having heard the phrase “squelching the Spirit”, but never giving it too much thought, I didn’t realize that I might have the ability to squelch the Holy Spirit’s prompting in the life of someone else. Last year I was fearfully trying to tame the Holy Spirit’s prompts in my own life, and I never considered His presence in the life of someone else.

After everything was out in the open, the truth of how the Holy Spirit had been moving became alarmingly clear.

The Holy Spirit was speaking to several individuals. In different ways the Holy Spirit was bringing thoughts, revelations, and a sense of awareness to them. With no physical evidence, some individuals approached me and asked me very direct questions about the things they were sensing. They mustered courage and trusted the Holy Spirit’s leading, but in an attempt to shut them down and keep them from seeing that they were correct, I flat-out lied to them.

In lying I was doing more than just covering my sin. Without thinking about the long term consequences for them, by lying, I was telling them NOT to trust the prompting of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. I was teaching them NOT to trust what God was so clearly showing them. The Holy Spirit is alive and He was allowing Himself to be revealed to them in tangible ways, but when I lied I was saying “Don’t listen to God; listen to me.”

A longing to see God.

In Exodus 33:18 Moses tells God that he wants to see His glory. It is at the end of a conversation that Moses was having with God. In their exchange Moses speaks to God about his insecurities. Moses is concerned that others may not understand God’s preference towards the Israelite nation. Led by this fear Moses asks God join them so that they will be clearly distinguished as God’s people. God assures Moses that He will indeed join them. Moses then makes the request to see God’s glory, and God complies in the way that Moses was able to handle.

“…I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But, you cannot see my face for no one may see me and live.” Exodus 33:19-20

God is powerful. He is so powerful that even the Israelite leader with whom he had actual conversations could not see His face and live. This is the same God who created plagues of frogs and locusts. This is the one who created a plague which took out all of the first born males in one night. With His power He parted the sea for His people to pass, and He sustained them for four decades in a desert wasteland. This very same God prompted His Holy Spirit to speak to believers on my behalf in an attempt to bring me to repentance. He was revealing His glory inside of them by allowing them to hear from Him in a personal way.

He was revealing Himself, and I stopped them from seeing His glory.

It’s bad enough that I was willing to let myself travel down a path of destruction and self loathing, but in lying I was also willing to have people who love me feel a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit as He was revealing Himself to them.

Sadly, I am not alone in this, for it is not only those who wear a scarlet letter who have lied.

Many people lie, including some of you who are reading this blog post written by a sinner. Granted, most of our lies don’t have the power to end a marriage, but it does not mean that God is less saddened by the lie. When we lie we are always taking a chance of squelching the Spirit in the life of another believer. When we lie we are saying to them, “Don’t listen to what you may be hearing from God. Listen to me.”

It is not only the large lies that damage another person’s ability to trust in their own intuitive nature and promptings from God. In some ways, the small lies may do more damage–simply because the lie goes undetected. There is no formal announcement to reveal the truth, and often no one is held accountable for the harmless white lie. But for the person to whom the lie was told it could be an ongoing battle for them to be able to discern and trust the Holy Spirit in themselves.

None of us can go back and make a a lie not happen, and there are many lies that will have long-lasting effects on the tellers and the receivers. The damage from a lie may be huge, and it is up to us to strive to make repairs when possible. We can return to the ones who may have courageously confronted us, to apologize and to confirm in them that they were indeed hearing the Holy Spirit. By doing this we encourage them to keep listening to those promptings and to trust those promptings even more in the future.

Through a restless night I rolled these thoughts around, and I awoke feeling awful. Owning the severity of my lies made me feel so unworthy of God’s love.

I opened my Bible and hunted to find answers for times when God’s people longed to be in the presence of the Lord and perhaps had been denied. In Exodus 33:11, I learned that when Moses and God were done speaking, after both had left the tent, Joshua (the aide to Moses) would stay in the tent alone long after. Moses would leave the tent and return to the people–who had been standing and worshiping during the exchange.  Joshua did not return to the camp with Moses. He stayed inside the tent. Perhaps he was soaking it all in. Reading this prompted me to sit in the tent with what I had read throughout the passage.  Tears came to my eyes as God used the same passage for my comfort that He had revealed in my convictions.

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”

God is the one who chooses on whom He will shower His mercies and compassion. We want to beat ourselves up for the mistakes we have made, and oftentimes we can do more damage to ourselves than anyone else is capable.

Sometimes others in our lives want us to suffer more shame for our own sins. Shame is somehow supposed to insure that we will not sin again. However, shame is not powerful enough to have a lasting impact in a person’s life–shame will only bring temporary outward behavior change.

Mercy and Compassion are the tools for heart change. It was always God’s plan to show mercy and compassion to His children–that is why the words He spoke to Moses are echoed in the book of Romans. God’s plan includes mercy and compassion, and as those attributes wash over us we are drawn to His Spirit and we long for His Spirit to be drawn out and revealed in the lives of others.