The Meaning Of Truth And Lies
First Thing’s First
This article is different than others I’ve written, so I feel a brief explanation is in order. For the next 12-15 minutes I’m going to ask that you think deeply about your life. I’m going to do my best to peel back the layers and explain some complicated concepts as well as outline some implications for today’s topic. I will take an in-depth look at lying, what it means, and the consequences of pursuing it. Then I will examine truth, what that means, and its consequences. Let’s dive in.
Good counselors notice patterns. It’s useful to notice healthy patterns for the purpose of encouraging those ways of thinking and behaving. It’s useful to notice unhealthy patterns for the purpose of interrupting those ways of thinking and behaving. This month marks my 20th anniversary of working in the field of mental health. During that time, I’ve noticed a few perennial patterns. One such pattern is the effects of what telling the truth or telling lies has on a person’s life. Most people have no idea of the destructive force of lies, nor do they have any comprehension of the redeeming value of truth.
Before I begin discussing the various nuances of truth and lies per se, we need to establish a starting point. Here’s where we’re going to start:
Do you believe that you’re a sovereign individual?
Do you think that you should make your own choices? Do you believe that you can make those choices reality through the living out of your own convictions? Do you believe that you possess the right to speak your mind? If yes, then you believe in individual sovereignty. The reason individual sovereignty lies at the foundation of telling the truth or lying is because you have to believe that you possess the power to choose between the two. Sovereign people get a choice, enslaved people don’t. The choice that you have now was the same one presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – the power to choose between good and evil.
A Brief Explanation of Lies
The Bible says that Satan is the father of lies. So, when you lie, you speak his native language. Satan wants his own dark kingdom – Hell – to destroy every aspect of existence. When you lie, you tilt the world a little more toward hell. You’re not bringing anything honest – anything truthful – into existence.
There are many neuropsychological effects of lying. One of the more unforeseen (and disturbing) effects of lying is this: you won’t be able to trust yourself. Here’s how:
Let’s say you lie a lot. Whenever you participate in repeated behaviors, you’re forming neural networks in your brain. Think of these networks like roads. Some are dirt roads, some are interstates. The more you participate in a behavior, the more routine it becomes. The more repetitive something becomes, the easier it becomes. Like your morning routine: you’ve been doing it so long you don’t really think about it. You’re used to doing it. It’s easy. Compulsive lying works the same way. You’re used to lying. You’ve done it for years. Deceiving people comes easy to you. Here’s the problem: your deceptive thinking patterns cannot discern between lies that destroy other people and lies that are self-destructive. You’ve become used to lying to everyone – including yourself. It’s become your de facto way of thinking. The terrible consequence is that you’ll be faced with many, many serious decisions throughout your life and you’re going to make the wrong decision. You’ll want to make a good decision, but the deceptive neural networks are so established that you won’t be able to reliably make good decisions. You can’t count on yourself.
Another pattern I see: no decent parent teaches their child to lie. I’ve never seen a parent outline to their child how this dark side of our world works. For example, imagine a father sitting 5-year-old Sammy down for the following conversation:
“Look kid, I’ve got to tell you something. Everything and everyone in life is corrupt beyond your wildest comprehension – including your mother and I. The only way you can successfully navigate life is to learn to lie as effectively as you possibly can. If you plan on really succeeding in life, you’re going to have to learn to be a brilliant liar. Better than 80-90% of people out there. You’ll need to take advantage of a lot of people to get ahead in life, so you’ll really have to put some effort into how well you camouflage your lies. You’ll also have to move around a lot because you’ll make a lot of people very angry, but that’s the price of success. I’m talking to you today because it’s best you start now.”
No one says that. No one EVER says that. Why not?
The reason no decent parent says that, is because they don’t value liars and they don’t want their kid to become something society can do without. They don’t think embracing falsehood is the most effective way to help their child navigate life. Sammy has good parents. Sammy’s dad values the truth and he wants little Sammy to value it as well. In turn, Sammy will seek out other people who’ve been taught to value truth. Valuing truth then gets generalized across different groups throughout Sammy’s lifespan: family members, fellow classmates, coworkers, friends, and so on. People in Sammy’s circle create an unspoken collective pact with one another:
They don’t value lying and they expel people from the group who do.
They might tolerate it in small doses, but if it gets too frequent or too severe one of two things will happen: the lying will be confronted and stopped, or the situation will devolve into corruption and chaos. Corruption causes things to collapse. If the situation devolves into a corrupt and chaotic mess, a new set of values will emerge with lying as a core element. How does this happen?
One of the natural consequences of corrupt cultures is that there is very little trust between individuals. The less trust is possible between individuals, the less productive people are. After all, why be productive if someone is going to take advantage of you? The level of trust exercised between individuals is directly proportional to the level of corruption that is present in a culture. Lots of corruption, very little trust. Very little corruption, lots of trust. When trust isn’t present in a culture it creates a vacuum. The vacuum must be filled. What rushes into the vacuum varies on a variety of factors, but two factors are always present: lying and meaninglessness.
You need meaning in your life because life is filled with suffering and you’ll need to make sense of the suffering to move forward in life. If you can’t make sense of the suffering you’ll sink into the abyss of chaos. The deeper you sink into chaos the darker and more foreign the world around you gets. You’re in a different place now. You’ll see things down there you don’t want to see. You’ll experience things you’ll come to regret. You’ll have to adapt. You can do that in two ways:
Allow yourself to be overcome by the chaos around you. If you stay long enough, you’ll evolve into something that can thrive in the meaningless, dishonest, chaotic mess. You’ll come to enjoy the dark embrace of corruption.
Refuse to allow your character to become corrupted and begin to sort out how you got here in the first place.
It might be your fault that you find yourself in a bad place, or it might not be your fault. It doesn’t really matter if it’s your fault or not because the end result is the same: you need to find a way out. You need to untangle what was tangled. You need to get things straightened out, but in order to do that you need to get yourself straightened out. You need to make a promise with yourself. You need to commit to playing as straight of a game as you can. That means you need to stop lying. You need to be honest with yourself because you really want to get out of the terrible, chaotic place you’re in. If you continue to lie, you’ll prolong your time in the depths of chaos. You’ve decided you don’t want to do that, so you need to be honest. You need to start telling the truth.
A Brief Explanation of Truth
The only real interpersonal resource is trust. Trust is a promissory note; it’s a type of currency. What gives the currency value is the truth. Truth makes trust possible. How people trust is by being courageous. Let me explain:
Early in my career, I learned that many people are naïve. They’re overly trusting, and part of the reason they’re seeking help is due to the consequences of their own naivety. Being naïve isn’t a virtue; it’s not something anyone tries to become. It’s a fault. It’s a character flaw. It’s a part of a person that needs discarded and replaced with something proper functioning. If a naïve person runs into someone vindictive, unkind, or outright evil it’s highly likely that they’ll experience some real damage from that evil person. Sometimes the damage is so severe the naïve person never fully recovers. That’s really bad, so you don’t want to be naïve.
If you’re not naïve, it most likely means that you’ve been taken advantage of at least a few times. Once you’ve been taken advantage of it makes it hard to trust. When it’s hard to trust, it means you’ve become cynical. But that’s a step forward! Being cynical is better than being naïve because it means you’ve learned a few things in life. Cynical people are more mature than naïve people. However, cynical people think, ‘Why would I trust anyone, knowing that they could betray me?’ Cynical people view the world as a dangerous and foreboding place. That’s really bad. Three to five years of thinking that way can put you in a very dark place, psychologically speaking. You need to stop being so cynical and start to become more trusting. That’s really difficult. How do people get out of this predicament?
They exercise courage by choosing to trust. Not in a naïve way but in a mature way, with eyes wide open. It's a simple but profound shift in focus. You decide to trust people because you’ve chosen to be courageous. You know that you can still get hurt; still get taken advantage of, but you give up on vacillating between the childish extremes of blind naïvety and paralyzing cynicism. You choose to embrace the idea that Russian Nobel Prize winning author, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, describes in his book, The Gulag Archipelago:
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of hearts, there remains… an unuprooted small corner of evil.”
You courageously embrace truth by making thousands of micro-agreements with other people every day. At work. At home. The grocery store. Church. Driving down the road. You understand there’s a lot of ways these agreements can go south, but you’re going to try anyway because you aren't a naïve child and no one likes a cynical jerk. You want to be a courageous adult. You’re going to risk trusting the other person. You know that lies destroy trust between individuals and you don’t want to be a part of that. You’ve decided to play as honest of a game with the other person as you can – no funny business. The way you establish and maintain this trust with the other person is by telling the truth.
In John 14:6 Jesus claims to be the Truth. What does that mean? It means that he’s “layer zero.” He’s the foundation of truth. He’s the truth upon which all other truths are built. The kingdom that He wants to bring to earth is Heaven. When you speak the truth, you’re speaking God’s native language. And we make the world a better place by being an active participant in exposing it to the Truth. When you do this, you’re bringing a little bit of heaven to earth. You’re helping tilt the world towards good.
There is no higher moral demand than to make the world a better place. You do that by telling the truth. Start today. Don’t start by thinking about making the world a better place, that’s too big of a task for any one person. It’s too overwhelming. Instead, start by thinking how you can make your world a better place. Your family. Your workplace. Your church. The only way to make the world a better place is through the truth.
So, how much heaven could you bring to your tiny corner of the earth if you really started trying?
I think you should find out.
 Please don’t confuse levels of analysis: having a right and exercising a right are two completely separate things. Understanding that you have rights is knowledge. Understanding when and how to exercise those rights is the application of that knowledge. Understanding that you cannot have a conversation about your rights without also simultaneously having a conversation about personal responsibility, well, that’s divine.  See John 8:44.  Taken from: https://www.lifehack.org/577199/pathological-lying-when-lying-becomes-mental-illness.  De facto, adj. Existing in fact but not formally recognized.  Not explicitly anyway. There are kids who learn how to lie from their parents, but when parents discover their child’s intentionally deceptive behavior, they’re shocked. This dynamic is worthy of its own article but is beyond the scope of this one so I’ll stop here.  Evolution carries with it the idea of something getting better. We never hear of something evolving into a worse version of its former self. If something erodes – if it gets worse – it’s in a process of devolution. In counseling this concept is very important: if your help isn’t helping, stop helping.  Cultures exist at multiples levels both large and small. Your immediate family. A group of friends. People at your workplace. A large church or business. A city. A region. Etc. This idea comes from the book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations written by Harvard professor Emeritus of history, Dr. David Landes.  Highly cynical people can have difficulty trusting themselves because they ask themselves the same question.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It changed my life and I’m confident that if you take the time to really think about the ideas Solzhenitsyn sets forth, it will change yours as well.  Perhaps more than any other organization, churches need people dedicated to Truth.
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A special thank you to Stone Amp SEO, Medicare Planning, Cheryl Julo – Reece Nichols, Cyndi Eskina, Christy Yager – Edward Jones, Debbie Miller, and Jacob Sanders – Heritage Companies for your Golf Classic Sponsorships.
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Thursday, September 22, 2022 @ 7:30am
Adams Pointe Golf Club, 1601 RD Mize Rd, Blue Springs, MO
REGISTRATION & SPONSORSHIPS ARE OPEN!
CALLING ALL GOLFERS AND SPONSORS! Registration for our 6th Annual Golf Classic is open and filling up fast! As you all know, this will be another top-notch event, with a stellar swag bag, delicious food, and outstanding prizes. For all of you sponsors, this is a great opportunity to put your business in front of our 200 guests while supporting an amazing organization changing the lives of the kids and families in your community. We have a variety of sponsorship levels, so please register now or contact Naomi with any questions.
Teams are filling up fast, so put your team together now!
Team Registration – 4 Person ($700)
Individual Team Registration ($175): Playing on a team but paying fees individually.
Individual Player Registration ($200): Individual golfer, not yet on a team. Will be placed on a team prior to event.
Presenting Sponsor ($15,000): Logo on all event materials, welcome banner; name included as presenter on all written materials; logo placed on gift bag; private speaking engagement with Dr. Jon Thompson; 2 foursomes included
Platinum Sponsor ($10,000): Logo on all event materials & signage; exclusive logoed golfer gift item; 2 foursomes included
Gold Sponsor ($5,000): Exclusive logoed golfer gift item; prominent signage at event & logo on website; 1 foursome included
Silver Sponsor ($3,000): Logo on gift bag, sponsor banner, & website; 1 foursome included
Cart Sponsor ($1,000): Logo included on all beverage carts (3), cart corral area, and on sponsor banner
Premium Hole Sponsor ($250): Sign with logo at designated hole; table to handout giveaways at hole; ability to include promotional item in gift bag
To contact our Director of Development, Naomi Thompson, call: 816.272.0653 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2022 Golf Tournament Silent Auction Packages Needed!
Peace Partnership would like to invite you, your friends, family, or small group to create a package for our 2022 Silent Auction. Your package will help us raise funds so we can continue to provide quality mental health care at affordable rates to an underserved community. We are also accepting other new donated items for our silent auction.
How Do I Make A Silent Auction Package?
Pick a “theme” for your package (ex: sports team, movie night, outdoor games, coffee crawl, etc).
Ask each participant to bring an item that fits the theme.
Items can be merchandise, gift cards, entertainment, services, etc.
The package should be valued at $50 or more.
Here Are Some Ideas To Get You Started!
Restaurant/Coffee Shop Gift Cards
Amazon Gift Card
Country Club Plaza Gift Card
Date Night Package
Car Guru Package
For questions or silent auction item drop off, please contact Naomi Thompson at email@example.com or call 816.272.0653.