A Nation of Liars?
You’ve heard there are three sides to a story: yours, mine and the truth. Why are there so many lies and so much spin? Why can’t we handle the truth?
Did you see these headlines?
- “Lance Armstrong Joins Fraternity of Liars.”
- “Like Lance Armstrong, We Are All Liars, Experts Say.”
- “Armstrong and Te’o, and Lies and Liars.”
Of course, sports stars aren’t the only ones who lie or are lied to. Lying is prevalent in politics, business and even religion. Lying has become so common that it is hardly “news” any more.
What does this say about where we are as a people and where we are going to end up if we continue down this road?
Speak smooth things
Isaiah describes the mind-set that leads to what we are doing to ourselves. “Who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits’” (Isaiah 30:10).
In general, we want our leaders to give us good news—to tell us we are okay. So if something is bad, they’ll try to spin it so it sounds better than it really is. We really do not want to hear about challenges that may require work or change on our part.
Choosing fantasy over reality
Look at the top headlines of the past several months: the fiscal cliff, the Benghazi situation, the European debt crisis, etc. People don’t like to admit they made mistakes.
The U.S. national debt is another example. We owe $16 trillion and it’s growing every day, but we refuse to talk truthfully about the matter. We just keep borrowing money, and many of our leaders keep telling us there is nothing wrong. We keep telling ourselves that somehow things are getting better. As we tell this lie to ourselves long enough, it slowly seems like the truth to us. We prefer living in a land of fantasy rather than a world of reality.
Warning of sudden destruction
Isaiah warns that it will not bode well for those who despise God’s Word. He compares the danger to a high wall that will break suddenly (Isaiah 30:12-13). When it does, it will spare nothing. We may think all is good, but then sudden destruction will come with catastrophic damage. We could have prevented it, but we refused to hear the warning bells and instead only chose to hear wedding bells.
We as individuals and as a nation are on this path. We are not being truthful with others or ourselves. Our institutions have not helped in this matter. These institutions—from our leadership to our religious institutions to our educational system—are facing moral crises of their own.
Also, in our postmodern world, everything has become relative. There is no good or evil, right or wrong, truth or lie. Everything has become good or truth in one’s own eyes. When this happens, we tell ourselves what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear.
We want to hear that everything is fine, that life will go on without any problems and everything will fix itself somehow. However, we need to hear that there are problems, and if we don’t correct them, disaster is coming. We need to take action sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, when sudden destruction occurs one day, we may be left wondering what went wrong, because we only heard the “good news” for the last so many years. How could this disaster happen just out of the blue? But no matter how much we lie to ourselves that our path is always sustainable and nothing is wrong with our choices, the truth will be shown in the long run.
What can we do?
What can we do? Two things:
First, we need to be honest with others and ourselves.
Lying has become so common in our society, it’s getting hard to tell whether it’s the rule or the exception anymore, from our top officials down to the common man. This is a bad road to be on, and it leads to terrible consequences. We need to be honest with our fellow humans, and we need to start being honest with ourselves. We have to stop telling ourselves the “smooth” things and not the truthful ones. The sooner we do, the sooner our problems can get on a road to recovery.
It may not be easy, and the problems we have caused in the past may still have consequences that must be dealt with. We need, as individuals and as a nation, to start being truthful about our sins and the problems we are facing. If we don’t, the result will be so bad we will not be able to lie to ourselves.
The other thing we can do is trust in God’s Word instead of casting it aside. This all started because we threw out His Word and trusted in lies and ourselves. The good news is that our God is merciful.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, look in the mirror and start speaking and hearing the truth.