St. Augustine wrote in Augustine Confessions:
"Thus they hate the truth for the sake of that other thing which they love because they take it for truth. They love truth when it enlightens them, they hate truth when it accuses them. Because they do not wish to be deceived and do wish to deceive, they love truth when it reveals itself, and hate it when it reveals them."
We like genuineness when it suits or helps us, but not so much when it exposes us or shows our wrong motives or conduct. Perhaps that is why there is a Jewish parable that says, “Truth is heavy, so few men carry it.”
I heard a story on the radio recently of a policeman who was searching a man. As he went through his pockets he discovered several bags full of illegal drugs. Before he could say anything, the man gave him an exasperated look and said, “These aren’t my pants!”
The most pain I have suffered (in terms of damage inflicted by a person) was caused by the lying of someone I trusted. We opened up our home to be used as a rental managed by a friend. His vision was to help get men who were homeless off the streets. But instead of following the guidelines we established he began lying about what was happening with the residents as well as telling people that we had given him the home. Ultimately we had to go to court just to get possession of the house. His betrayal, lies, and the financial and emotional cost to my wife and me generated much suffering. I realize that compared to what many others throughout the world have suffered this was not so bad. Even so, it gave me a lasting memory of the harmful impact of lies.
Lamentations 3:39—Why should any living person complain, any man, because of the punishment for his sins?
One of the aspects of leadership that I find most taxing is taking disciplinary action against employees for immoral, illegal, or unethical behavior. If people were honest and simply confessed wrongdoing it would not be so hard. Yet rarely does that seem to be the case. Excessive time and emotional energy is spent in separating truth from fiction.
Have you ever made an exciting discovery? You go and share your new found information with those who should be interested and their response is unenthusiastic. Instead of them celebrating with you or wanting to learn more, you are met with disinterested head nodding. The test of whether someone really cares about what you care about is their genuine willingness to get involved.
Nadjya* came into our center to get food. As Bryan had her fill out forms, she shared she was mentally struggling. He forewarned me that she seemed kind of bizarre. I called her in and asked her questions to determine her financial and spiritual status. Essentially, a bout of pneumonia and lingering weakness caused her to miss enough work that she was in need of our help. I was surprised at how well her job paid. Most people who visit us make very little money or are in between jobs. I was also impressed with her faith in God’s mercy and forgiveness. She seemed to have a good grasp of the Bible.
While browsing through a magazine at an X-ray clinic, an advertisement caught my eyes. The bold headlines proclaimed something to the effect of, “It is WRONG! . . . It is Nationally Televised”. The ad promoted some upcoming cable channel roast of Playboy magazine’s founder and owner, Hugh Hefner.
Aber and I sat at the table and dipped the addicting chips in delicious hot sauce. Aber asked if we could meet. He was spiritually hungry, eager to learn more about God. After our usual chitchat he shared about a vivacious gal at work on his team. She had recently moved to Oregon from Massachusetts. He noted her athleticism and that the two of them were working out three times a week during lunch. He was losing weight and felt great. Not surprisingly, the chips I’d been munching lost their flavor.