By Melanie Mar Chow
Truth or dare. Childhood memories recall a game that made me submit to the dare to eat the dreaded banana or to taste soap. The stinging words of “You liar!” from those that taunted me in my youth still feel like a slap in the face decades later.
My mind echoed back to those days when recently, I was deciding whether to put quotation marks on something I was writing. Since it was going on social media, my first thought was yes to quotations and claim credit for the thought later after doing my research; but later I decided against using quotes. Later that evening to my horror, my research revealed that the thought I had left unquoted was likened to quotes by Einstein, AW Tozer, and the Bible because of ONE word.
So, would I be lying if I took credit for those words I wrote? And even if so, lying isn’t necessarily bad in all circumstances. Case in point: Psychology Today notes that there is much to socialization and relationships that better survive because of misleading truths. Can we tolerate the blunt honesty of our friends and their assessment of us? Better yet, can we take credit for a phrase or thought that may be attributed to someone else, even if our words are not in the exact same order? Will I get sued or better yet, will my actions take down my family, my company, etc.?
When I ponder the reconciling of truths vs. lies, I am always drawn back to God for His answer. Clopin begins Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame with this riddle, “Now, who is a monster and who is a man?” Then towards the end of the film, the question changes to “What makes a monster and what makes a man?” We are just a step away from being manipulative monsters, though in a heartbeat we are fragile humans, struggling to live in the truth of our lives, good or bad.
I find comfort knowing all things come from God and He is the creator of all. Our lives are simply just the retelling of story and hopefully, we tell the story correctly. But I ask myself often, “Is that really true?” We live with our evil and sins, and most of the time perception is everything. Even if we seek the truth, it is only as an apology and prayer to God asking for forgiveness or reconciliation with a friend who misunderstood. Perhaps we should all join in on the mantra, “We are fakes, we live a lie!” Maybe my SoCal friends and me can do so more readily simply because of our proximity to Hollywood, with its vanity and image deemed to be truth.
I recognize God is the author of life, but also how my sin obliterates and blinds me from seeing and being in relationship with God and God’s people. No wonder we cling to Jesus and to his act on the cross, as there is no other way I could be an honest person. Whether you call it reflection or depression, most of the friends I value view their lives in utmost honesty. They take the time to bring different analyses and harken back to their creator God for their comfort and understanding. They look hard and honestly at what God is doing and saying, and even their misdeeds and missteps return them back to God. It is said the most honest ones are those who lean toward depression and the non-depressed are more likely to lie.
How do I reconcile this truth? I find the best way to remind myself that God is the Master and Creator is to recall Ecclesiastes 1:9, proclaiming that there is nothing new under the sun. Only God is 100% true.
The truth is that we can learn something “new” each day. Mathemeticians use the word “permuted” to define something as “an alteration of something original.” As such, our permuted perceptions or thoughts suggest that newness is indeed a truth, not a lie. But that is for you to judge. For me, as God’s ambassador, I am to uphold 2 Corinthians 5:11-20, to implore reconciliation with God as the definer of what is truth. Honestly, no lie!