I confess. I lie. Of course, I don’t call it lying. It’s just exaggeration to get attention or to make my point more powerful.
I was reminded of my sin by the vulnerable sharing of Cathy Horning. She recently posted the following on her blog and I asked if I could share it with you. I think it’s something we all could question ourselves about.
So here is Cathy Horning’s blog post. I highly recommend her blog. She always has insightful posts.
“It all started in the wee hours of January 1, 1980. I was 19, and had just attended a midnight, New Year’s Eve church service, where I finally, totally, surrendered all of my messy, mixed-up life to Jesus!
“That night, as I quietly slipped into the brisk, dark shadows of a new year, even though everything around me looked the same, everything inside of me was different! I walked to my car filled with an inexplicable peace. And, for the first time, I sensed true conviction of sin. Not shame. Not guilt. Just a knowing that certain things in my life were very wrong and needed to change.
“As if blinders were removed from my eyes, one of the sins I saw clearly was that I was a masterful liar. At the same time, I was keenly aware that Jesus wanted me to learn to tell the truth, all the time, about everything. This was a great relief, and a tremendous burden. For instance, I had a job I loved. But, occasionally, I was asked to lie. Because, I didn’t have the courage or know how to tell my boss about my new faith or my new convictions, I quit the job. (Not recommending this to anyone, but that’s what I did).
“Learning to tell the truth, I quickly discovered, was the easy part. The hard part came, over the years, as God revealed other areas of my old sin nature that were related to telling lies. Like peeling back the layers of an onion, He exposed areas of trying to be in control, being manipulative, being deceitful and more.
“Every time, I was confident I had finally gained the victory, and was certain there were no more layers to peel off, the Lord would lovingly, but firmly, reveal another. UGH!!! New seasons of life, challenges, changes, and simply the fact that I lived in a body of flesh, continued to expose more and deeper layers within me that God, who loves me enough not to leave me in my mess, invited me to allow Him to transform.
“This year, God laid bare a new and raw layer in me. A layer at the very core of my being, my character, my heart. You see, this layer is well-intentioned, trying to fix problems that are not mine to fix. This layer is from the people-pleaser part of me, not wanting to ruffle feathers or hurt or disappoint. And this layer, flows from my deep love for people, a love that finds me saying “yes,” when I really need to say, “no.” And less often, saying “no,” when I should have said, “yes.”
“This layer is the most painful, yet! But in it, I hear the Lord, the Great Physician, as He does surgery on my heart, with the precision of a sharp scalpel, whisper to me, “Cathy, let your ‘yes’ be yes, and your ‘no’ no.”
“This powerful message is in the last chapter of the book of James. James, likely the half-brother of Jesus, wrote this long letter (5 whole chapters) all about our words, our attitudes, our tongue! I spent the last two days reading and studying his letter, before I wrote this post. And basically, although I am not a Biblical scholar, I’d say James sums up his letter with this power passage: ‘But above all…do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.’ James 5:12
“I have a long way to go, but I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patient, transforming work in my life. And, my desire in sharing, here and now, is that you might be encouraged in the areas where God is at work (even after years and years) in areas of your heart and life. Praise God, He loves us too much to let us stay unchanged! Lord, do your work. Lord, have Your way!”
Thank you, Cathy, for allowing me to share your powerful words. I’m joining you in allowing the Spirit of God to strip more and more layers of this sinful strategy from my life.
I picked the image of a welder above because sometimes it feels as painful as a welder heating steel as God peeling layers of sin from my heart. But just like a welder whose work results in smooth creations, God, the Master Welder, smooths the rough edges of my soul. The result brings joy.