Liar Liar

I know someone who lies.  It’s just what they do.  They tell small lies.  They tell big lies.  I’ve heard them tell whoppers.  More than once.  And they never bat an eye.  It’s as if they’re telling the truth.  In their mind, maybe they are.

Others have noticed.  When the storyteller isn’t around, someone will mention that story.  They knew it wasn’t true.  It was too obvious.  It was an almost unbelievable story.  I don’t know how she thought up such magnificent details on the spur of the moment like that.

If someone makes a point of lying just to look better than others or to get out of a tough spot, does it ever feel natural?  Does lying ever feel good?  Do habitual liars feel guilty?  Do the lies just taint any truth they may later tell?

I always assume that people are telling the truth.  I’ve made a habit of being truthful.  I don’t like lies.  Oh sure, it would be easy to lie.  In the moment, it would be easy.  But there are always consequences.  Consequences are never friendly.  They’re heavy, unnecessary lessons to be learned.


The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.           Proverbs 12:22


I sometimes think about it.  That lie I told.  That lie I never confessed.  To anyone. Ever.  I knew there would be trouble if I admitted it.  I wasn’t sure what the punishment would be.  So I didn’t tell.

I’ve thought about that lie over the years.  The first few years after the lie, I wondered if I should send a note and confess.  By then I lived in another state, and it no longer mattered.

I did something I shouldn’t have done and then I lied when asked about it.    I didn’t think about getting caught or being questioned about it when I did it. But people knew that someone had done something they shouldn’t have done.  And it was me.

When the group of us were sitting in the room being questioned, I assumed everyone suspected me.  I was the youngest.  The least experienced.  No one blamed me.  But I knew.  I knew they thought it was me.  I knew that I wasn’t going to confess to anything or to anyone.

The thing is.  I knew when I was doing it that it wasn’t right.  But someone before me had written wrong instructions.  I followed the instructions.  So was it really my fault?  Even though I knew better?

I knew their instructions were confusing. I could have corrected their mistake.  I had seen their mistake before and avoided it.  Maybe they didn’t see it as a mistake, but their intentions were misleading.  I knew better, though.  I just didn’t act on it.  I took the instructions literally.  Why didn’t I avoid it this time?  I always had before.

So I lied and said that I wasn’t the one who did that thing.  I felt bad about it.  I didn’t want to get in trouble.

Afterwards, no one ever spoke of it again.  Ever.  That was a huge relief.  I still felt it in my heart, though.  I knew I should confess.  I never did.  I. Never. Did.

I’ve learned from that lie.  I’ve learned that I don’t want to make lying a habit.  I don’t want to have to constantly remember the story I told and who I told it to.  I don’t want to have to be on my guard.  Always watching what I say and who I say it to.  Wondering if others can tell I’m untruthful.  I don’t want consequences.  It’s easier and safer to just tell the truth.  That way you don’t have to remember.  The story is always the same.

So Close to Eternity

Today on Father’s Day, I think of two men.  Two men who never knew each other.    Different values.  Different lifestyles.  Different beliefs.  Different worlds.  They both were fathers.  That appears to be their only common ground.  I don’t know why the first man even comes to mind.  But he does.

I remember when Saddam Hussein was killed.  Some witnesses videotaped his death.  His hanging.  I saw parts of the video on the news.  It was graphic.  It was disturbing.  It was unsettling.  He died.  People wanted confirmation that he was gone.  There it was.  Ugly and haunting.

He seemed so calm in the last moments of his life.  He wasn’t fighting his captors.  He was as a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Quiet.  Reserved.  Defeated.

I wonder if he had been drugged.  I wonder what he was thinking.  When they opened his cell door for the last time, did he know he was going to his death?  Did he know that in just a few short minutes he would be in eternity?  A never-ending place where he would reap the rewards or punishment for his life on earth.  Did he know?  Was he ready to meet his Maker?

If he knew, what was he thinking?  Did he try to make peace with God?  Did he ask forgiveness for the atrocities he had committed?  Did he shake his fist at God and curse him?  Did he believe in God? What were his final thoughts?

It isn’t mine to know.  It isn’t mine to judge.

The Lord knows the thoughts of man.  Psalm 94:11

I remember another man’s death.  I wasn’t with my dad when he breathed his last breath, but my sisters were there.  He had been on hospice for 3 months.  During those final months and days, my dad exhibited peace and contentment.  He knew he was dying.  He knew he was going to heaven.

Some days he would want to hold your hand and tell you that he loved you over and over.  Other days, tears would roll down his face.  At times, he would look up to the corner of the room with a far-off look.  He was seeing a place he had only read and heard about.  Heaven.  He would sometimes see people.  Others who had gone before him.  He would call them by name.

He had said he was waiting for my  mom.  He never wanted her to be alone.  He waited for her.  In those final three months of his life, he portrayed a sacrificial love for the woman he had pledged his life to 60 years earlier.  He kept his vow.  Till death us do part.

His heart was weak.  His body was frail.  His voice was soft.

His love was strong.  His faith was sure.  His eternity was secure.

During his final days, he would reach with outstretched hand to heaven.  Trying to touch it.  Wanting to enter those pearly gates.  As the end drew near, he would lie there with his eyes closed.  No longer speaking.  Not in this world.  Not in the next.  Hovering between two worlds with a smile on his face.  He was seeing heaven.

He had made peace with his life.  He had waited for his beloved to go before him.  He was ready to meet his Maker.

His last words.  So close.  So close.

Acquainted with Grief

She walked over to me that Sunday morning after church.  In a quiet voice, she said, “How do you do it?  How do you get through each day?”

A year earlier, I had lost my older brother.  Five years before that, my husband had lost his sister.  I am acquainted with grief.  She knew that I knew what she was asking.  My friend had lost both of her parents just a few months apart and was having trouble coping with the loss and the pain.  I recall feeling bad for her, because I couldn’t fathom losing my parents, let alone just a few months apart.

As we talked through our hurt and loss, we shared a common bond.  Grief does not discriminate.  It hits everyone who has lost a loved one.  It’s not a club you want to join, but you can’t refuse membership once it’s offered.  Membership is free, but you’ve already paid a great price.  You’re in the club in that moment of loss. With that one phone call.  Or with the knock on the door.  He’s gone.  She’s not going to make it through the night.  The test results are in, and it doesn’t look good.  There’s been an accident, and there are no survivors.

Little did I know at the time of our conversation, that only a few years later I would once again be circled by grief as I lost my parents eleven days apart.  Eleven. Days. Apart.

I am acquainted with grief.  I am acquainted with loss.  I am acquainted with the replaying over and over in my mind of how the scene of death played out for my loved ones. What were his last words?  When was the last time I saw her alive? Those thoughts filled every moment of every day for months on end.

What I realize now is that we really do need each other.  In those times of loss and uncertainty and unfamiliarity as we face a future without those loved ones, we need others who have walked that path.  We need someone to hold us up and to encourage us to grieve.  To live through the hard parts of life without our loved one.  We need someone to be there for us in those times when we can’t hold ourselves together.  When the memories and the loss are flooding down on us, and we feel like we can’t breathe.  When we don’t know if life will ever feel normal again.  We need to tell our story of loss over and over again.  We especially need someone to listen to our story. To hear our hurt and our pain.  To let us know that there is hope.  To let us know that as life goes on, we should cherish the memories we have and hold onto them.

As Reuben Welch said, “We really do need each other.”

Love one another, as I have loved you.  John 15:12

Heart Problems

She said my name with a sense of urgency.  She wanted me to do something that was her responsibility.  She had forgotten about it.  It was now urgent.  Do or die time.  And now it was my burden.  I had now been tasked with the responsibility to make things right.

Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.  Someone close to me uses that phrase.  But somehow I couldn’t say those words.

I could feel the bad attitude rising quickly within me.  I could have used words that would have reduced her to something small.  But that would have made me smaller.  I could have slammed a file down on the desk.  Or stomped off.  That would have caused more problems.  Instead, I stewed.  Boiling on the inside. No one can see stewing, can they?

Words can hurt people.  Actions can hurt people.  You can’t take those things back.  Both words and actions are devastating.  Thoughts and attitudes are just as destructive.  Is my bad attitude harmful to others?  Who is harmed if I think ugly thoughts?  If I don’t act on them?

Bad thoughts and attitudes are destructive to the one who thinks them.  They make a person bitter.  Or rude.  Or greedy.  Or judgmental.  And they spill out onto the next person.


Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.  Psalm 19:14


Whatever comes out of the mouth begins in the heart.  Maybe I should put duct tape over my mouth to keep the ugly words out.  Is it possible to duct tape my heart, as well?  Would that keep the ugly thoughts away?  Would that stop the bad attitudes?

Then I remembered.  I’ve been trying to approach situations as if I’m doing everything for Jesus.  If Jesus had been the one asking me to do this thing, would I have created stew?  Would my attitude be different just because the messenger is different?  Is it fair to be willing to do for one what I’m not willing to do for others?

As soon as my thoughts turned to who I was really working for, I felt a shift of my attitude.  I was willing to do this.

It was actually a simple task she asked of me.  It was just scheduled over an event I had already planned.  My schedule had to change in order to accommodate someone else’s need.  I knew that no matter what my attitude was, I would still have to do what was asked of me.  I didn’t have a choice.  Maybe that was the problem.  I didn’t have a choice.

Sure, that person messed up.  I could help them out.  I’m sure they were going to get a talking to later, so why should I make the situation worse by being difficult.  It’s all a matter of the heart.  The attitude.  Whatever is in the heart comes out in actions and words.  Kind or unkind.  Pleasant or ugly.  Good or bad.

There is a choice.  It’s really a simple choice.  Remove the emotions and treat someone the way you would want to be treated.  Sounds so simple, yet sometimes the struggle is very real.