“You’re not smart enough.”
“You need to cheat to get a good enough score.”
“You are going no where in life.”
“You aren’t skinny enough.”
“Nobody likes you.”
“No one would miss you if you left.”
“You have to drink to fit in”
“You will never be successful.”
“You will never be able to lead this group.”
“You can’t do it.”
“Your relationship status indicates your worth.”
“You’ll never get that job.”
“Life does not get better.”
“That person deserves to be put in their place.”
“You are worthless.”
It’s amazing how many lies exist in our lives. They originate from all directions: the TV and movies we watch, the books and magazines we read, and generally it all stems from the lives we live. Constantly acting as an impedance to our walk in life, these little fibs can cut deep, heighten pain, and cause us to act in some cases, and in others, leave us mentally depleted.
And yes, all of those lies listed above do not apply to everyone, but I am guessing that at some point or another, at least one rings true for everyone’s life. And it’s very likely that one is causing all of us grief and pain right now.
It can be so difficult for us to see them for what they are when we are actually hearing them. They intertwine themselves within our own thought processes like they are one of our own. We consider them, without recognizing their origin or even how false they actually are. And they remain only lies until we submit to them, believing them and acting on them. That’s when they become dangerous.
They can lead to jealousy, depression, anxiety, anger, entitlement, slothfulness, and even pride and greed. Yes, the above listed lies are all negative, but lies can also be too positive and self-centered to the point of being dangerous. Dangerous to the point of pushing loved ones away, and distancing ourselves from a humble and fulfilled life.
As we think back to our greatest struggles and toughest times in life, aren’t lies often the root of our greatest hindrance to moving forward in life? So how do we make progress when facing these tempting falsehoods?
First, we need to remember that it was through a lie that sin and suffering entered this world.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? ”The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
– Genesis 3:1-6 –
The temptation of Eve by the serpent in the Garden of Eden was the push that got Eve to disbelieve God’s commands. She knew what was true, what God desired of her and commanded. But in weakness in conjunction with an insisting lie, she decided to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, disobeying God and causing the fall of man. Lies are precursors to sin.
And second, we must know that hearing lies is not a sin in itself. Lies can lead to sin, but it does not always end this way. There is no question that we are all confronted with this deceit in life but the question does remain “How do we respond to them?”
Even Jesus was tempted. Living a perfect life, He was tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread to end His hunger during the forty-day fast. Satan also tries to tempt Him by offering dominion over all the kingdoms of the world (Matt. 4: 1-11). But Jesus doesn’t give in to, I would argue, the biggest temptation in the history of man. He was offered the world and given an option to not die a gruesome death for our sins and yet He is unwavering. He commands, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” And Satan left Him.
So how do we respond when we hear voices saying that we’re not thin enough or strong enough, or that we’re not capable of succeeding or persevering, or that we’re not loved? We have to realize that if we believe these twisted mistruths they become reality, can hurt us and those around us, and can lead to further actions that can cause even more pain. They become cyclical, worsening and worsening the more we buy into them. We need to recognize them for what they are and bring them to God in full reliance on Him.
Many unknowns exist as I prepare for the next big step in life. And I constantly hear lies about how the next chapter won’t be successful or that my life is not going to fall into place. At times, I believe them, and I worry, which separates me from a faithful walk with God.
But I’ve realized these big steps are occurring all the time and aren’t constrained to my senior year of college. Every day we are face-to-face with decisions, and ones that are influenced by the thoughts we have, both truthful and deceitful. We make decisions about friendships, leadership roles in work, clubs, or organizations, career decisions, what we decide to eat, drink, and wear, and how we perceive ourselves.
The fight is inevitable, so how do we combat this deception? Do we give in to those hidden lies that prod us into taking the paths we are trying to avoid, or do we recognize them for what they are, bringing them into the light, becoming stronger and victorious? It’s a choice.