John 8:31-32 (NIV): To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings,you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:44 (NIV): [Jesus speaking to religious leaders] You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Welcome to some of the most revolutionary stuff ever spoken in the Bible. Jesus here asserts something that is so simple, yet so revolutionary, that it can impact your life in ways you will not appreciate: simply that God deals strictly in truth, and Satan deals strictly in lies. Not only that, but the truth is liberating, while lies are enslaving.
Unfortunately for me, I grew up in a world of lies. My mother divorced my father and blamed the divorce on him. The resulting household was, a few years after the divorce, one marked by controlling behavior and power-plays. My mother ended up in a lesbian relationship where her partner took over the role of parent. Her partner (H.P.) sabotaged my relationship with my father by defining everything he did in terms of, “If he loved you would [insert method to spend money] instead of [whatever he did that involved spending less or no money].” After a while, I believed H.P. and cut of ties with my father.
Much later, I reforged ties with my dad, who is a wonderful, loving man. He has loaned me money when I was in trouble more times than I can count. I realize now that he always loved me, and that part of loving me was saying “No” to the things I wanted. H.P. had lied to me, and knowing that truth has set me free from incredible amounts of emotional bondage.
When I moved from Minnesota to South Carolina, I moved into a house with an older woman (about 25 years older than me). The relationship was platonic at worst, mother-son at best. She helped me to recover from some of the emotional damage that I had received. At the same time, she insisted that we had to tell everyone we were cousins. She even worked out the exact relationship by appending me to her family tree (1st or 2nd cousin once removed).
For a person professing to be a Christian to perpetrate such a useless and blatant lie is a big warning. I came to learn that while she respected character, she was also very concerned about appearances… like how you hold your spoon. She tried to reshape me from a midwestern boy to a southern gentleman, so that I would be able to get a girl. It didn’t work, and I married a midwestern girl.
Every lie equates to bondage. It comes from Satan, who wants no good thing for you. The white lies, grey lies, and black lies are all from Satan. We are called to speak the truth IN LOVE, but never forget that we are called to speak the truth. What happens, and what I am recovering from, is the lies get engrained in your thinking. You become so accustomed to lies, “your father is a terrible person,” that you not only accept them but start to operate based on their logical conclusions, “I’m just like my dad, so I must be a terrible person too.” Your feelings are then impacted by those conclusions, “I don’t want to be a terrible person, and can’t see how to become a good person, it’s hopeless.” As you may have guessed, depression was a constant companion for many years.
This affects every area of our lives: economic policy (truth: government can’t save an economy, just look at EVERY instance it’s been tried), politics (truth: if someone’s voting record has been in defense of partial-birth abortion or abandoning failed abortions, they won’t be a pro-life president), personal finance (truth: if you can’t afford to buy a book for cash, then you can’t afford to buy a book on your credit card), and relationships (truth: if someone was involved in kicking you out of your house, they will not serve well as an unbiased counselor). Dave Ramsey talks a lot about the fiscal lies that we’ve been told, and his callers share daily the bondage they are in from believing those lies. There are many conservative talk-show hosts (Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh) and bloggers (Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter) who research the truth in politics.
Seek out the truth and embrace it. It will be hard. If you’ve lived with credit cards instead of savings accounts your whole life, changing will be hard. If you’ve been listening to people who cannot present facts or logical (emotion free) arguments to support their positions, you’ll have to listen to new people. If you listen to people who lie about the number of opponents (Al Gore does this a lot) or won’t look at data from different angles (time ranges, different data slices, etc) then you will have to question the validity of what is being said, no matter what warm-fuzzies you have to give up.
Embracing truth brings freedom. Embracing truth brings you to the front lines of spiritual warfare. Arm yourself. Apologetics, science, politics, etc. Be knowledgeable and be ready to defend your ideas with passion, but without resorting to emotion or wishy-washy arguments. Don’t be a child, but mature in all your ways.