Christian Self Help graphic

Christian Self Help


Fix Your Marriage


  The Line In The Sand
     - Credits
     - Forward - L. Alexander
     - Introduction
     - 1. The Dawning (Part 1)
     - 2. Incoming
     - 3. Return Fire
     - 4. Bankruptcy
     - 5. Pressure
     - 6. I'll Show You
     - 7. Liar, Liar
     - 8. Broken Glass
     - 9. Grand Canyon (Part 2)
     - 9a. No Canyon
     - 9b. Making The Canyon
     - 9c. Codependency
     - 9d. Baggage
     - 9e. The Way We Are
     - 9f. Work
     - 9g. Exclusion
     - 10. Spelunking (Part. 3)
     - 11. In The Darkness
     - 12. In The Light
     - 13. Reorganization
     - 14. The Final Chapter

     - Review - J. Talavera
     - Review - N. Beck
     - About the Author

Fix Your Marriage

(Part 1) The Line in the Sand - Chapter 7. - Liar, Liar

     “Liar, liar, pants-on fire!” How often we hear these chiding words repeated. Sometimes these words are spoken truthfully. Little Johnny told a lie, and was caught, so all the kids shout it out. Let’s look at Johnny’s heart account. Why did he lie? What happens as he receives the incoming negative deposit? It may be the truth, but sometimes even the truth can hurt. Ouch.

     First of all, why do we lie? “Not the truth” is a simple definition of lie. I believe that we, as humans, know the difference between the truth and a lie. Even more significant is the understanding that I know exactly what I am saying when I speak a lie. I believe you possess this gift as well.

     We sometimes justify the necessity to lie by telling ourselves another lie. I can protect the other person if I tell a “little” lie. It looks something like this: I am running late after work again. I stop by the local bar for what I believe to be a much-deserved drink. I know my wife will be disappointed again because I’ve done this before, so I think of some “true” excuses.

     I am working on a project with a deadline. I had car trouble. I stopped by the store. I just lost track of time. My mind races to think of something that will have some truth in it to make the excuse more believable.

     Let’s look closer at these “truths.”

  1. I am working on a project with a deadline. So am I, but is that really the reason you chose to leave late? Is it possible you were late at the office talking to someone about things you don’t want your spouse to know about? Or, were you visiting with someone you want to hide from your spouse? Or, you might have been playing games, or doing some other unproductive things at work. Or, you may not have been at work at all.
  2. I had car trouble. Car trouble happens all the time. Tires need changing. Motors stop running. It may or may not have happened, but who cares enough about your trouble that they will take the time to verify it?
  3. I stopped by the store. With this truth I can deceive you so easily. Listen. I stopped by the store. Did I stop at a specific store to purchase specific items? Or, did I stop somewhere by, or near to, any kind of store? I can see you are getting it.
  4. I just lost track of time. Yeah, right. This is a flimsy excuse that we all buy. We all know it happens, and yet we all know how it happens. If you desire to have a block of time to use for your selfish pursuits, you will inevitably use this lie. People swallow this one, hook, line and sinker.

     They swallow the hook because they desire to believe that you are sincere and truthful about who you are, and what you are doing. Because of their great desire to trust you, they swallow your line. Now they are trusting you and you have crossed the line in the sand by not being trustworthy. They have swallowed the sinker unknowingly, not knowing that it will someday drag them down. At the same time you, too have swallowed the sinker. You are going down, one lie at a time.

     Back to the question, “why do we lie?” We fear the natural consequences of our actions. We desire to manage a situation so the outcome is what we desire. We manipulate with lies to protect our reputation. We lie to control other people. We lie to hide the sin in our lives.

     Fear is a very powerful motivator. Fear can cause us to do (and say) things we would not normally do. Things like not ride on an airplane, not answer the door, yell at your kids, stay at work too long, drink yourself into a stupor, hide inside yourself, push your wife away, yes, and even tell a lie.

     Fear is at the root of situation management. If I can just keep all these bad things hidden, and all these good things out in front of me, then people will see me as the good person I want to be. Then they will ally with me and be there for me. So, I will keep up the charade for them. Yes, the outcome will be good. Where and when do I lie, or tell the truth? When do I begin damage control?

     Manipulation through lying works to keep my image shining and my reputation good. This is much like situation management, and yet is better examined as image management. I will do whatever I need to keep up my appearances to others. There is a deeply disturbing problem with this thought process. I will have to do whatever it takes to never become vulnerable. I cannot let anyone know the true me. I have to hide who I truly am from everyone, forever.

     Back in the foxhole forever, taking potshots at everyone to keep them away from my heart account. You see, I’m afraid that everyone wants to make negative deposits into my heart account and I’m afraid I won’t be able to take it any more. So, I hide in my foxhole and close my account. This is one of the lies we choose to believe because we are hurting so deeply, and do not understand what we feel.

     How does this apply to the line in the sand? If I lie to you and you believe me, I have attempted to control you. For now, I have succeeded in my plan to manipulate the truth to keep myself at a safe distance from you, or to keep you at a safe distance from my heart account.

     Your choice to believe my lie is completely yours. I’m betting the odds that you will believe me simply because I have managed my image well up to now, so why wouldn’t you believe me? If I am to protect myself from you discovering my actions, I will need to skew and twist the truth a bit. It is your choice now.

     By the same token, if you lie to me, the choice to believe you is completely mine. My desire will be to trust in most circumstances simply because I believe that man is basically good in nature. My spouse wouldn’t lie to me because she loves me. My children wouldn’t lie to me because they respect me. My co-workers wouldn’t lie to me because I am a good person. My friends, church, family, salesman, therapist, doctor, and neighbor are honest with me. My auto mechanic is honest, too. Sorry.

     A lie, when spoken across the line, is usually disguised or cloaked in a shell of believability. The normal whistle-whine of incoming is not there. The shell comes in to the foxhole, doesn’t explode right away, and is stacked in with all the other deposits in the heart account. We don’t realize we have accepted these explosive deposits.

     All the while, I will be maintaining my image. One after another, lie after lie; I will keep pushing people away from me to protect myself from truly being known. I will place explosive deposits in your account, believing that I can maintain my image long enough so I never have to witness the explosions.

     The risk of my actions being discovered, or the truth being known that I am a wretched stench of a person and that I don’t even like myself, is too great for me to stop the behavior, or to tell someone else and get help. So, I am stuck in the muck, frozen in my tracks by my fear and the cycle continues.

     The cycle of sin looks something like this: I do something I know to be wrong; I sin.

     I feel guilty and shameful. I believe I am a bad person and nobody would like me if they knew. I lie to cover up the action at all cost. I don’t get caught. Things get better for a while. I am tempted in the same way again. I validate and make real the temptation by giving it airtime in my thoughts. I plan a way to repeat the same sin again for the thrill, the pleasure, or the escape.

     I act on the plan and commit the sin again.

     I feel guilty and shameful. I believe I am a bad person and nobody would like me if they knew. I lie to cover up the action at all cost. I don’t get caught. Things get better for a while. I am tempted in the same way again. I validate and make real the temptation by giving it airtime in my thoughts. I plan a way to repeat the same sin again for the thrill, the pleasure, or the escape.

     I act on the plan and commit the sin again.

     I feel guilty and shameful. I believe I am a bad person and nobody would like me if they knew. I lie to cover up the action at all cost. I don’t get caught. Things get better for a while. I am tempted in the same way again. I validate and make real the temptation by giving it airtime in my thoughts. I plan a way to repeat the same sin again for the thrill, the pleasure, or the escape.

     In the same way repeating these paragraphs is insane, so is the cycle we get into that allows us the opportunity or the necessity to lie. Some people live a constant repeating of the cycle, living in the insanity of addictions. Drugs and alcohol, sex, control, meddling, gossip, manipulation, and dependency on another person are just a few addictive behaviors. Each behavior fills us with guilt and shame and provides a place in which we could believe we have to lie to maintain our image. This belief is yet another lie that we choose to believe. “I have to lie to be safe,” is a lie. Now that is a shame.

     God has provided a way out! (James 5:16a) “Confess your offenses to one another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.” Wow! Confess your sins. Confess them to one another. This requires you to meet with someone you can trust in a safe place. Then as difficult as it sounds, tell all the things you have done that you don’t want anyone to know about. This is your opportunity to come clean.

     The line in the sand is looking a lot like a black, bottomless canyon about now. Your choices at this time are most critical. There are two choices: 1. Go back the way you came, or 2. Trust that you can tell the truth by honestly confessing your most disgusting sins, and that Jesus has already paid the price for your sins.

     If you turn back to where you came from at this time, you will find yourself returning at some point to this exact same decision. Standing at the brink of a vast, black and bottomless canyon. You will desire to be on the other side. There will be fear and deep pain.

     If you choose to trust, and confess your sins (yes, all of them), God provides the next piece of the puzzle and puts it right into place. He says, “and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Confess your sins to someone you trust. Pray together and give your sins to Him. Truly experience remorse, which is a deep sadness and regret for what you have done to yourself, others, and to Jesus by nailing Him to the cross with your sin.

     As you earnestly seek His forgiveness and reveal all that is locked in your heart, He will hear you crying out to Him. You can weep and wail like the fool you have been, and He will listen to you reveal your heart. He will also take the sins He has already died for upon Himself and free you from the burden. As you are obedient to the words in James 5:16, by confessing your sins to another person, and in fervent prayer give these sins up to Him, your prayers will result in healing of the soul. Your soul account is re-opened and filled to overflowing!

     Not that any of us is righteous by any stretch of the imagination, but that we are humble and reveal the wickedness in our hearts, our prayers will be effective, as spoken in (James 5:16b), “The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective”.

     As I’m writing this I have looked into the word believe. Right in the center of the word “believe” rests our culprit. BE-LIE-VE I guess we need to be on our guard because there could be a lie hidden in the middle of everything we choose to be-lie-ve.

     Oh, what about those explosive deposits we left behind? What happens when the truth is revealed? Boom! The heart account is now blown to bits. There is shrapnel sprayed deep into the soul of the person holding the account. The explosion rips at the very fabric we are knit from with such a fury that the damage is instantaneous and severe. Even the soul account will begin to shred because of the destruction of the heart account. When you are torn apart by my lies, you will question yourself. You will re-evaluate your belief system, and you will begin to question everything that everyone says and does. Your trust for others is deeply shaken.

     For a time this will likely consume you to the point of depression. You will shoulder the guilt and feel shameful that you allowed yourself to be hurt in such a personal way. You will be angry because you are hurting so profoundly. Right here, right now, in the depth of your emotional turmoil you have a choice to make. From within your heart, which is blown to bits, you have to choose. This choice can determine the outcome of many of the next choices you will need to make.

     You can resent me, get back at me, run from me, or physically retaliate against me. You can ignore what I did by denying that it hurt you. You can enable me to continue by isolating your feelings from me. You can choose to live your life in wrong ways to show me how it feels. Whatever you do, you will not trust me.

     These actions will potentially build upon the resentment and bitterness that remain from the explosion in your heart, piling on and piling on until you are buried in the pain. If you hold on to the pain and resentment because of what I did to hurt you, you will be living your hurt life for me.

     One of the most important things I have learned came from my precious bride, during a particularly difficult time.

     “What you do or say does not determine who I am.”

     As these words flowed in, I didn’t understand at first. It took some time and discussion to clearly see the light shining on the line in the sand.

     My choices and my actions were revealed to her and she was understandably, very profoundly hurt. This is difficult to write about because I am deeply filled with sadness at the pain I have caused her. She is the very person I love most in this world. She is the precious daughter of our Heavenly Father. I lived my selfish, disgustingly sinful life purely for pleasure and escape, at any cost. When she knew the truth (Boom!) she looked into my eyes and said she had forgiven me.

     I have discovered just how selfish I have become because I lie to others. I also understand how futile speaking and living a life of lies truly is. Rest assured that sometime, oh yes, sometime the whole truth will come out! (Luke 12:2-3) “But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner chambers will be proclaimed on the housetops.”

     Boom! worksheet...


© M. Scott Worthington 2006-2017 - All rights reserved.
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