Yesterday we continued a series at Gateway Church in Austin called Outed. The series was created based on the results of an online survey you can take. John Burke shared at the McNeil campus, and I shared at the South Campus. Here were some of our the thoughts:
“White lies may seem small, but how many sports stars, celebrities, politicians, or even mobsters have ended up in prison or disgraced not because of what they did but because they lied about what they did? Americans are incredibly forgiving. If you confess your crime with tears in your eyes and your wife by your side, you can be forgiven. But if you lie and cover up what you’ve done and then are found out later, we are not very forgiving at all.
Why do we sometimes say things that are not completely accurate in order to make ourselves look different than we really are? Survey Results:
- When was the last time you lied to a family member or friend? Only 1.5% said they’d never lied. The other 98.5% of you were honest.
- 83% of us lied this year to people close to us. 57% in the last month.
- 62% of you and your friends admitted that you’ve cheated in order to get ahead–16% this past year.
- 18% stole something from an employer this past year!
- 31% of us, 1 out of 3 is struggling with an addiction that we have hidden this past year.
Jesus was talking to a crowd of people, some who were willing to be honest and some were just playing a religious game. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
Jesus was setting up a metaphor, just as darkness is the absence of light, a lie or deception is just the absence of truth. And truth is where God exists. None of us know all truth, but God does.
Ted reminded us last week that “reality is your friend.” Why? Why is reality your friend? Because Reality is where God lives. Reality is what’s true according to the only one who can really judge accurately. And Reality is where we Come Alive—alive with a Light that’s eternal, lasting, and true. When we learn to walk honestly in the light of God’s Reality—we find freedom. Freedom to be ourselves—in Reality!
How can we know the Truth Jesus is talking about and walk in the light of Freedom to be ourselves fully? To not feel the need to lie, hide, pretend, cheat or cover up?
- Lying is an attempt to control our situation and control others by saying what we think others want to hear, but we aren’t truly in control.
- Lying shows we do not trust the other person, ourselves, or even God.
- Lying keeps us from authentic community because we are keeping people at a distance from us. People don’t know who we really are.
- Lying corrupts us from within. Damages our character and integrity. White lies lead to more and more damaging decisions.
So why do we keep doing it? The main reason we tell white lies, myths, cheat, hide the truth—is we don’t know who we are—we’ve lost our true identity. It happens to all of us growing up in a world separated from God, where God’s truth and reality are not welcome. We all get wounded, broken, and robbed and then we believe lies about ourselves, God, and others. As we live out of that false Reality, we hurt and wound others—and this stain of sin passes generation to generation.
Living in the Truth that sets us free means we start to believe what God says is true about us and we act that way. There is no one else on earth like you—you are unique.
- Genesis says God created us in his image—good. God created you that way.
- To the prophet Isaiah, “This is what the LORD says–he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid.” Isaiah 44:2
- To the prophet Jeremiah he said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
- “You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you…God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are.” Ephesians 2:8-10
We must turn from lies and half-truths, because when we cling to lies, evil gains power over us. Lies are the weapon of evil that slowly turn us to do things that hurt ourselves and others, without realizing it! We don’t think there’s any problem because we think the lie is the truth.
Freedom and healing comes through honesty and confession. Healing for your relationships and for your soul. Trust others and God with the consequences of your deceptive action.”
To listen or watch this message, go to www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.