Truth or Lie

I like to know things and I like to be correct in my facts. I’ve spent many years and dollars earning degrees to prove that I know stuff. I read a lot and listen to NPR, one of the few almost neutral news sources I have found. I like knowing about weird stuff, like how an African snail is ravenously devouring another snail towards extinction. I find knowledge fascinating, and ignorance inexcusable. There are many times, however, that I am not correct. I get a fact wrong or mix up two things that shouldn’t be mixed up. I know a fact from 5 or 10 years ago that is no longer pertinent, and I didn’t learn about it. I use the wrong pronoun or say something that someone finds insulting or hurtful. I am not perfect – none of us gets it right all the time. And while it is humbling to admit that I am wrong, it is worse to cling to an idea that is a blatant lie. 

I think this is all about ego, and I have a pretty big one. I am proud of what I have done in my life, and I think most people I know feel the same way about what they have accomplished. Doing our best and loving what we do are two of the greatest rewards in life, and every decade brings new challenges, possibilities, and goals. With time, however, can come certainty that isn’t always right. I remember saying to an older member of my congregation, with great certainty, that if I made it to my 80’s and could see my children happily married with children (if they wanted that), I would be satisfied. His reply was that once you hit 80, you start thinking about what 90 might bring. That is a level of optimism I wish everyone could share.

We are in the midst of a culture war about lying. There are people running for office at every level of government (and school boards) who believe that the last election was stolen. Over and over, this has been proven false, and yet, there are people unwilling to admit that they bought into a big lie. Our country is suffering because of this lie, and if we allow those who support it to gain leadership in our country, we are in bigger trouble than ever before. And the people who admit it is a lie are being dragged through the mud by those who still buy it. The problem with lying is that it leads to more lies. The old adage that we should always tell the truth because lies are too hard to keep track of is true. This big lie isn’t only about politics; it’s about morality. When President Clinton was impeached, it was because he lied, not because he cheated on his wife. Accepting lies and liars puts us all at risk. I hope that every person who has bought into this lie loses whatever election they are in. Not because of their political party. Because they are liars. The best thing would be that they accept that they have lied and repent. Let’s hope for that.

Prayer – God of truth and wisdom, we have all lied, and we have all made mistakes. Give us the courage to fess up and make up for what we have done. Amen.