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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Wednesday Festival: What Do You Do With a Lie?

Today's post is by DirtySexyMinistry. It was a hard one to read, and it's working on me, on all sorts of levels. I love it. I hope you do, too. - Ed.

What do you do with a lie?

What do we do when we are confronted with the harsh, sharp reality that the friendship and relationship we thought we had with a person isn't what we thought? What do we do when we realize that the trust and words, laughter and love, even, we had with someone feel like a fraud. What do we do when we are confronted with a truth we had been willing to ignore, explain, or excuse, until a particular moment?

A painful moment, actually, for most of us, when this truth appears. Perhaps it's the email or text from the other man or woman that cannot be understood as anything but what it is. Perhaps it's the final straw, the argument where truths are spoken that hit us like cold water. Perhaps it's the moment when, after a struggle within a friendship, one has the chance to claim responsibility for a hurtful action (usually something done to the other, but not to the other's face), but passes the blame or denies the event or words.

And in that moment, we know. We know that what had been will likely never be again. We know that the love and trust have been damaged. We know that the moment when the lie appears, it cannot be undone or untold.

What do we do with that moment?

That moment is rarely just a moment. That moment is usually the apex of several moments over time where we heard that voice within us, or we heard that voice from friends, who wondered aloud about things that didn't feel honorable and right to our very souls. We might have explained away the other moments. We might have ignored them. We might have taken on the blame for the dissension and problems.

"This is just me. I need to try harder."

"I'm being difficult. After all, s/he would never betray the friendship like this."

"All relationships go through rough times. It's a phase."

Maybe it is. We hope that, don't we, that all rough patches are just a phase, that our trust in another was well-placed and our love for the other, friend or otherwise, was worth giving. So we believe.

Until circumstances don't allow us to believe anymore. Until the moment when the lie shows us the truth, that our trust was not well-placed and that our agape or philio was not returned in a healthy, differentiated way.

So what do we do?

We listen to the truth, and in some circumstances, speak our truth, even if that truth is only safely spoken to God and our very own souls. A reality is often the lies from the other tell us s/he will not respect our truths. Our truth may be we second-guessed our instincts and our truth to capitulate to someone else, to hope the relationship would work somehow, someway. Sometimes we denied our truth for the lie because we simply couldn't work with the truth. Women stay in bad marriages for the insurance. People stay in oppressive jobs because they can't afford the loss of income. People stay in bad friendships or relationships because they are fearful of loneliness.

An interesting truth about God - it takes darkness to expose the light. Light a candle in the middle of bright sunlight, and it's difficult to see. Light that same candle in the pitch dark, and there it is, shining brightly and mightily. Perhaps for us to see our truths about how we relate to someone and why we are still engaged with another person whose actions are undifferentiated, perhaps smothering, and even hurtful, we need the darkness of the lie.

And in that moment, when we are overwhelmed by the darkness that is hurtful and sorrowful and even at times dangerous, we feel the truth. Sorrow will not kill us. Resurrection always comes, albeit only after we've laid in the tomb for a while. Some relationships are not good for us, and the Godly thing is that they end.

In the darkness, we wail and cry. We doubt ourselves and wonder how we could have believed the lie, why we didn't see the signs (or pay attention to them). In the darkness, we sit. Until we feel strong enough to discard the lie and admit our truth.

Until we feel strong enough to go forward with a new question: What do you do with the truth?


  1. I read this and wept. It's why I'm thinking of leaving the ministry.

    I am so worn down, hurt and exhausted emotionally. But I have also regained my integrity and sense of honor for calling the lies I have been told just that... "lies"... and for that I feel empowered.

  2. Anonymous, may God lead you to the right decision for YOU and for your relationships.
    There's a meditation called, "Leave when it's time to go" that finally opened my eyes to a situation that I had outgrown and I realized it was time to seek a new call.

  3. I wasn't complete: that meditation helped me know what to do with the 'lie' that was my work and at the center of my life. It hadn't always been a lie tho, but it became one for me.

  4. Rev Nancy,
    is that meditation available on-line? Might be a handy thing to add to my kit-bag.

  5. I persevered with a "friendship" for over 2 years after my friend had decided to distance herself. why? because I loved her, and even after all the hurt and lies I still do

  6. Anonymous, you're in my prayers.

    I have a college "best friend" with whom I lived for 7 years. Through most of grad school...she was part of my family. And now, it's as if I don't exist. I'm often shocked at how painful I still find this.

  7. Thank you Mary Beth

  8. lovely wisdom in the midst of bewilderment and shock -- say hello to Theodore Roethke, "In a dark time, the eye begins to see."
    blessings and comfort...


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