Consider the last time you told your testimony. If I were to fact check your testimony, would all aspects turn out to be true or would I find some embellishment along the way? Just recently Brian Williams, anchor of NBC nightly news, was found out to have embellished, if not lied, about some stories he reported on and it got time thinking about why we lie in ministry.
Think about it, if youth workers or pastors are going to lie we’re going to lie (I like the word fudge) about these seven things
We are tempted to lie about the numbers
I can remember being asked on Thursday mornings about how many kids we had and my brain would quickly convert that question into “How many people did I have”. So, I counted adults, babies, cats, dogs, the deacon who popped into the room for second to make sure we were’t tearing up the place. Why did I lie about the numbers? Because I was afraid. I was afraid I’d get fired or be seen as a slacker. For some people, numbers are the only measurement for success and I wanted to look successful so I lied.
We are tempted to lie about events
“How did that event go?”, “Awesome!”, I’d say when it in reality it did not. I was over budget, it was under attended, and I did a piss poor job of promoting it so I lied. I found any morsel of the event that was worth talking about and build that up like, “The hot dogs were excellent!”. I lied because I did not want to seem incompetent. I wanted to survive one more day. This also is about the numbers. How many kids were there? A poorly attended event was a sign that you may not have the goods or the kids do not like you so I lied.
We are tempted to lie about our testimony
This is where we are most like Brian Williams. We have a story and we want to make it an interesting story so we embellish or make things up to connect with our audience Maybe we mis-remembers the facts but if it pulls the heart strings it’s o.k. to share if people get saved or come to an altar. Why do we lie about this? Once again, we’re afraid. I grew up in an era where everyone shared about the terrible things they had done and the more terrible things you had done the more God got the glory for saving such a terrible person. I don’t think we lie on purpose when it comes to our testimony but I think our greatest fear is that we appear boring and so does God. We’re afraid that if our testimony is not like the Apostle Paul we must not be very good or worth saving.
We are tempted to lie about the Bible/Preaching
Once again, we don’t do this on purpose but we put words in the mouth of scripture that are not there. We embellish Bible stories or come up with alternative scenarios that may or may not have happened in scripture. I am not talking about making a joke or being funny I am talking about making something sound better or worse than it is to make our point. I owe it to the kids I serve and the people I share with to tell the truth about the Truth. The ends do not justify the means when it comes to the preaching of God’s word.
We are tempted to lie about how busy we are
This lie is about how important we are when we are not. Sure we may be busy but why do we have to make it sound like the whole word is knocking down our door to hear from us as if we have all the answers and we are the only people who can solve a problem, teach a lesson, write a blog post, or walk on water. If I am busy I don’t have to announce that I am busy because I am probably too busy to announce it. Busyness is about spin and image control. We want others to believe we’re busy because that justifies our paycheck or even our existence.
We are tempted to lie about what God is doing.
I am a Pentecostal preacher not by choice but because I have experienced Pentecost in a deep and powerful way. This does not make me better or worse than anyone else it’s just where I am. I can only speak of my culture but I am pretty sure that God is not doing everything every Pentecostal preacher says He’s doing. At best it’s a guess, and at it’s worst it’s a lie to make God look better than He does. God doesn’t need our help. God needs no embellishment. He is the one true God and His word is apt to describe Him and the work He is doing.
We are tempted to lie about how fine we are?
I am the liar in chief when it comes to this. Why? Any kind of leader will say they’re fine because they do not want to be perceived as weak or needy. We do not want to be exposed as a fraud. We lie about how we are doing because we don’t want to make God look bad or because we’re afraid there is someone out there who is looking to exploit our weakness and drag us down. Paranoia? Maybe, but that’s what fear does, it makes us mistrustful of others.
Fear makes liars of us all because we want to be liked. To be loved seems to far a goal in many people’s heads but God loves us liars. God loved that liar Jacob and that liar Peter for saying that he’d never leave his Master. If God can love those liars, He can surely can love me.
This leads me to the cure for lies and the lying liars who tell them. The answer, no matter how trite or convenient is sounds, is love.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John
Cast away the fear, you are loved. And while you’re at it, love those around you and you’ll dispel their fears as well.
Which lie are you currently telling others or yourself?
Which lie is toughest for you to stop telling and why?