The Worst Lie You Can Tell

Years ago, my college Intrapersonal Communications teacher started a class session with this statement:

“You cannot lie to yourself.”

He explained that this is because we eventually believe what we continually tell ourselves. In other words, even though what we’re saying may be a lie, our minds eventually accept and act on it as truth. Essentially, then, we can reprogram our thinking with lies.

What’s more, research actually supports this assertion.

“Humans are masters of self-deception. We fool ourselves into believing things that are false, and we refuse to believe things that are true.”  (How Do I Know When I Am Lying to Myself?)

Self-deception also comes up often in literature.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses respect for himself and for others. And having no respect, he ceases to love.” (The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky)

“Self lies are the worst lies…” (Richard Bach)

Most significantly for Christians, the struggle with lying to ourselves is also confronted in the Bible.

“Keep my from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your law.” (Psalm 119:29)

Self-deception is the worst type of lie because it reprograms how we think, and the way we think determines the reality of our lives. For this reason, we need to regularly let our minds be renewed.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Our culture seems to condone self-deception. The follow-your-feelings, seek-your-own-truth pattern of the world seeks to conform our thinking. It’s telling us that lying is acceptable if it fits with your personal truth.

Refuse to conform to this worldly pattern. Regularly assess your thinking by getting in God’s word and letting it transform you. Know God’s will, so you can regularly cast down any thinking that conflicts with it.

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32-32)

Guest Post on Stretched

Stretched guestToday, I have the privilege of guest posting on Jon Stolpe’s blog Stretched while’s he’s on a mission trip in Guatemala. Jon is a Christ-follower, and he writes about leadership. life, parenting, marriage & faith.

Take a few minutes to check out my post “Finding a New Normal,” and leave a comment if you have an extra minute. While you’re there, check out some of Jon’s posts… they’re well worth your time!

Sunday Reflections – The Privilege of Prayer

While the majority of countries in the world elect leaders by vote, there are 15 countries in the world that still do not elect leaders by voting. In some countries that do elect by vote, many have compulsory voting and fine people who fail to vote. In the United States, voting is optional, a privilege we can choose to exercise or not.

Voting provides just one example of privilege that some people have and others do not.

What do you think of when you hear the word privilege?

A privilege could be considered an advantage, allowance, benefit, birthright, entitlement, exemption, favor, freedom, immunity, liberty & opportunity. It gives someone advantage over others and provides benefit to some or one that others don’t get. Privilege can also exempt someone from certain obligations and give them special access.

My favorite example of experiencing privilege comes from when my oldest son (about 8 at the time) and I were traveling with my husband who had earned elite flying status because of how much he had flown the previous year. My husband’s privileged status gave us first class seating along with its accompanying advantages. Our son, who was an experienced business class flyer, expressed the feeling of privilege when right after he sat in his first-class seat exclaimed, “Now this is flying.”

Who gets privileges?

What is often considered privilege comes for many reasons. The reasons that quickly come to mind when we think of privilege in our culture include having money, social status, the right heritage and even, in some cultures, the right gender. We might even think of famous actors, singers and authors as having privilege, though their loss of privacy might negate the feeling of privilege to a great extent.

Prayer is a Privilege!

Our discussion thus far has revolved around what our culture considers privilege. But most people don’t consider prayer when they think of privilege. Yet, prayer should not only feel like a privilege, it should feel more special than almost any other advantage we posses. Unfortunately, though, it all too often feels like a requirement and something we “should” do. Prayer sometimes feels like an obligation. Why do you think that is?

How is prayer a privilege?

Let’s take the reasons our culture considers something to be a privilege or not and look at why prayer trumps all other privileges.

  1. Complete Access. Jesus provided complete (Hebrews 4:14-16) and constant (Ephesians 6:18) access for us to God the Father. No longer do we have to meet the requirements of the Old Testament system of sacrifice. Jesus provided a better – a complete – way!
  2. No Limits. The way to God comes through Jesus. Once we commit our lives to Jesus, we have access without limits (Hebrews 9:6-8).
  3. Irrevocable. No one can take away the privilege of prayer. No one can stop you from praying. Paul & Silas in prison (Acts 16:25) illustrate this point about prayer well.
  4. Advantages. There are too many to name here, so let’s touch on two. Prayer brings healing (James 5:16) and unification (John 15:5 & Matthew 18:19). If that’s all I got out of prayer, that would be tremendous.
  5. Exemptions. Prayer also helps prevent many things from happening in our lives. Again, there are many, but let’s name three. Prayer can keep us from giving up (Luke 18:1-7), from anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7) and from guilt (1 John 1:9).

What will you do today to exercise the privilege of prayer? What advantages of prayer do you enjoy regularly?