One of the cornerstones of AA is telling the truth. Members recognize that their failure to tell the truth has gotten them into a lot of trouble. They lied to themselves and to others, manipulating situations to what seemed to be their advantage, but in the end their lies did great damage to themselves. By failing to tell the truth they avoided being seen for who they truly were. They manipulated others and avoided being held accountable. In order to be on the path to recovery, they realized they needed to break the habit of lying.
We all tell lies. We may argue that our lies are only “half truths” or “white lies.” We may be able to justify some of these lies: “I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.” But usually our reasons for lying are not about being sensitive to other peoples’ feelings.
We lie to seem in control when we are not — to give the impression that we are something that we are not. We lie to avoid a legitimate suffering, which usually means we simply postpone the suffering.
Lent is a good time to begin living more truthfully. If we are honest with ourselves, we will probably find that giving up lying is a pretty tough thing to do. It is a start however to simply realize when we are telling lies. “I just told that person that I really wanted to come to the event they are sponsoring when in fact I have no desire to be there at all, and, if I stop to think about it, no intention of showing up? Why did I feel like I needed to say that?”
Here is a BIG POINT: We often feel we need to lie because we don’t trust the mercy and grace of God. We can’t own our stuff because we figure God will condemn us. (The elder brother does not own up to the bitterness, jealousy, and pretense of his “good son” act; he doesn’t trust that his father will love him if he isn’t perfect.)
It is not our failures and flaws that stand as a barrier to God — it is our inability to tell the truth to ourselves and to God. If we truly believe that Jesus reveals the heart of God, then we know that the Father will welcome us home.
Help us, Lord, to come clean. Lies and deception are not your way; they are the way of the adversary. Help us to admit to ourselves when we have stumbled in our quest to tell the truth. Stir up the faith within us that trusts in your mercy, that we may own up to our deceits. In Jesus’ name. Amen.