Hi. My name is Mike. . and I’m a recovering liar. I’ve been given the opportunity to give the lead today. It’s always difficult to be self-revealing and vulnerable, especially when it comes to exposing our failures and short-comings. When you spend the first thirty-four years of your life in denial, it’s remarkable that you can see any faults, known or secret, even to yourself. I’ve never had a problem identifying other people’s moral issues, but wasn’t too keen-sighted to acknowledge my own. . .until lying almost killed me.
Lying isn’t a recent phenomena, though it seems to have picked up steam over the years, reaching a crescendo in recent months. The virus is spreading to people in every walk of life. One of the recent headlines I read the other day was titled, “The President’s Press Secretary Lies All of the Time.” The news is filled with stories of people caught in lies, accused of lies, denying lies, compounding lies and left off the hook with the consequence of lies. It’s a holy crusade to weed out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
“All of mankind have the work of the law (the law to tell the truth) written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness in their thoughts and actions to be truthful; but they find themselves accusing others of lies and excusing themselves of their own, or in blindness cannot see their own sin.”
Almost every day my chronic condition, which includes this virus that seems to have a mind of its own, is present within me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh and blood. . .my human nature) dwells no good thing. The will to do right and speak the truth is present with me; but the power to perform that which is good, I do not find within me. Who will rescue me? Many of you attending the meeting today have had the same experience. Living in total ignorance of your lying shortcomings until Love arrived, then Light exposed what lurked in the darkness and Mercy freed you from the guilt and condemnation. Yet, we can still remember when denial and ignorance was our way of life and judging others made us feel better.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray. The one a Pharisee and the other a publican. (It’s important to identify their characters. The Pharisee was a religious person who worked hard to present himself as a holy and righteous person. Jesus referred to Pharisees as white washed tombs. White on the outside but darkness and death on the inside. The publican was a tax collector who regularly stole from the people and was generally known as a thief and liar.
The Pharisee stood up and prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers. . .and liars like this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give a portion of what I have to others. . .and I tell the truth. I’m not lying.” Then the Publican, who could not even lift his eyes up to Heaven because of his guilt and shame, pressed his fist to his heart and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Then Jesus said, “the Publican went home justified, having seen his sin fully and finding himself in the hands of a forgiving God, received the gift of His Son and along with Him, freely receiving all things. A new heart. A Heart filled with Truth. A Heart that cannot lie.”
What do all liars have in common? First and foremost they are all members of the human race and all of them possess a human heart. . .a heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, mortally sick. No man can understand his own heart. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that whole imagination of the heart with the thoughts and purposes, was only evil continually. . . and a perpetual lie. Humans are foolish. They do not know God. They are sottish children and they have no understanding of themselves. They are wise to do evil, but have no knowledge of God’s Way to do good.
“I said in great alarm as I looked around, ‘All men are liars’.
“They speak falsehood to one another. With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.”
“One of themselves, a philosopher of the world said, ‘people are always liars.”
“They all lie about the Lord and say, ‘He will not see us, so misfortune will not come upon us.”
“Their mouths speak deceit and their right hand is a hand of falsehood.”
“If someone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his fellow man. . .that person is a liar.” (These are all verses from scripture. . .God’s own opinions. The only politically correct opinions.)
My thoughts were just interrupted by the sound of singing coming from the back of the room. It’s a little black lying sheep, who had lost her way but was found by the Shepherd. Now, others have joined her in a chorus that is a spectacle to angels, to heaven and to man. A beautiful rhapsody from a room full of recovering addicts, who now possess a new Heart filled with Power, Love and a Sound Mind. What they all have in common is the Lord, Who is the author and perfecter of Truth. . .and the Giver of all Good and Perfect gifts. He is the very Essence of their new Heart.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretched liar like me. I once was lost, but now I’ve been found; was blind but now I see,” Now I see myself, not in a different light but in His Light which has enlightened me to the truth about myself and others. And to be able to speak the Truth and not lie, that Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.”
And Jesus said to them, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” And one by one they dropped their stones and walked away.