I am a liar.
It’s an uncomfortable thing to admit. I’m a Christian. Lies are forbidden. As Revelation 21:8 (and the snappy little tune based on “Frere Jacques”) clearly state, liars go straight to H-E-double-hockey-sticks.
Twenty-one eight Twenty-one eight
Liars go to he-ell Liars go to he-ell
Burn, burn, burn Burn, burn, burn
I don’t like that I lie. I really don’t. It’s something I’ve tried very hard to quit. But when push comes to shove, lies pour out of my mouth. I will say anything to protect myself from judgment. People scare me, and I am a coward.
And this is a very bad thing.
Of course, I don’t actually have to go to Hell. Jesus died so that my sins – including the lies – could be forgiven. But forgiven or not, I probably shouldn’t be engaged in the activity.
The Problem with Lies
Sins aren’t sins because God is a kill-joy. He isn’t up there in Heaven thinking up rules to make us miserable. He isn’t a frustrated or unreasonable parent squashing his children’s fun just because he needs a little peace and quiet. But he’s also not a permissive parent, letting us do whatever we want without any guidance at all. He’s a wise, loving father, who shows us the best way to live so that we can live happy, meaningful lives. When God tells us not to do something, it’s because that thing is no good for us. Like sugar or flour, it may seem advantageous in the short-term, but ultimately, it will hurt us, and possibly others around us.
Lies are sinful because they are harmful. Sometimes, they can hurt others – either the person we lie to, or someone we lie about. But even if we tell a ‘white’ lie, the kind that has no discernible impact on anyone else, it’s still wrong. Every lie has a victim, even if that victim is ourselves.
A few days ago, this post by Dr. Jordan Peterson showed up in my newsfeed:
The danger of lying too much.
Lying is very powerful because you can manipulate the world with your language. And you can get what you want lots of times; or escape from things you don’t want.
So, why not lie all the time?
Well, there are a bunch of reasons, but one of them is that you can’t trust yourself if you lie.
And there are going to be times in your life when you have no one to turn to except you.
So, if you’ve stuffed yourself full of lies, you’re going to be in a crisis one day, and you’re going to have to make a decision, and you’re going to decide wrong, and you’re going to be in real trouble.
You won’t have the clarity of mind necessary to make the proper judgement because you have filled your imagination and perception with rubbish.Dr. Jordan B Peterson, May 4, 2022
Doctor Peterson is right. Lies are not only harmful to your own soul, they affect you in a very immediate, practical way. We don’t trust liars. We feel uncomfortable around them. We can’t depend on anything they say. It’s bad enough when the person lying to us is an acquaintance. It’s much worse when that person is someone close to us. But when the person you can’t trust, feel comfortable with, or depend on, is yourself, that really is a kind of Hell.
Lying on BLE
I can’t blame BLE for my lies. I was lying looong before SPT laid out the 4 rules of bright living. As anyone who’s ever had an eating disorder knows, lying comes with the territory. It’s all about hiding and secrecy. In that world, lies are a survival tool.
But the more I try – and fail – to succeed at BLE, the more I realize that the lies themselves are a big part of the problem. BLE requires honesty. So if I can’t stop lying, I will never get this right.
Lies Kill Community
One of the tools SPT emphasizes in BLE is community. And it’s the one I shy away from the most.
Part of that is understandable. I’m introverted. I have difficulty connecting with other people, especially strangers. I’m shy. I’m awkward. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t work well in groups.
But none of those things are the real reason I don’t like community. They’re excuses.
The real reason I don’t commit my food to a buddy is because it means nothing to me. Because I will lie.
The real reason Gideon Games don’t work for me is because when I’m about to take that 1st bite of NMF, I know don’t have to fess up to anyone about it – I can just lie.
The real reason I haven’t looked for a guide in BLE is because I know that when things get tough, I will definitely lie.
I struggle not to lie to my closest family and friends. So there is no way I can trust myself to tell the truth to people I have never met. Lying to them is too easy.
I don’t lie at the beginning. I reach out, tentatively, into the community when things are going well. When I’m hopeful that this time, I will really do it. But as soon as I slide off the rails, the lies begin to slip in. One at a time. I might admit a struggle, but minimize the severity of it. I might say I’m bright when what I really mean is that I’m sincerely planning to be bright tomorrow.
Small lies. Harmless lies. Lies to spare others from being discouraged by my failures. Lies to avoid disparaging the plan. Lies to strangers, who will never know the difference.
But whether they know it or not, the weight of my lies destroys those relationships. I begin to resent them, because I don’t like the person I’ve become within them. I try to free myself from the consequences of my own actions by avoiding phone calls and FB check-ins. Skipping MasterMind meetings. Cutting people off entirely.
And to an extent, it works. I can stop lying, because there’s no one left to lie to. And for a while, I feel relieved. But it doesn’t last long. Because even with no one else around, I am still a liar.
Lies Destroy your Mind
I firmly believe that every lie I’ve ever told has done damage to my own mind. Do we think that when we tell a lie, when it leaves our mouths, that it goes out into the ether, having no more effect on us?
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.Matthew 15:18
I’m defiled by my own lies.
They don’t leave. They hang around. And it’s not just the memories, painful as those are. When we lie, we form new tracts in our brain. Those tracts stay with us. They become part of us. They aren’t just a part of our past – they determine our future. They make us who we are.
My lies have turned me into a liar.
Because I’m a liar, I can’t trust myself. I’m uncomfortable in my own company. I can’t depend on myself to follow through with anything I resolve to do. I am completely unreliable. I have no idea who I will be from one moment to the next.
I can’t believe the thoughts I’m thinking in my own head.
What good is it to tell myself I will be bright tomorrow? Or for the next meal? I have no idea if that’s true. I don’t even know if I really mean it. What good is it to write down a plan, when the future me can just choose to ignore it? What’s the use of buying vegetables, when I may just let them rot in the fridge?
Nothing I say or think can be trusted. And without that foundation, Bright Line Eating can’t happen.
Telling the Truth
If I’m going to do BLE, I have to stop the lies. I can’t go back into the past and undo the lies I’ve told – just like I can’t go back and un-eat all the NFM I’ve eaten. But what I can do, is tell the truth. Starting now.
So here’s the first truth: I’m a liar. That’s the whole point of this blog. The point is not to gain forgiveness or absolve myself from guilt. It’s to start the process of truth-telling, from the very beginning. To lay a foundation. To tell the truth about myself in a way that will make it more difficult for me to lie in the future.
I’ve had a BLE buddy for a few months, now. And she is the first person in BLE who I have not yet lied to, that I can recall. And I believe the reason for that was that when we first began speaking, one of the first things I told her about myself, was that I would struggle with telling her the truth. That when things got tough, my 1st instinct would be to lie about it.
I fessed up to being a liar. And strangely enough, that has, so far, kept me from lying. To her, that is.
There are a lot of relationships in BLE I wish I’d started on that same foundation. But I didn’t. And I can’t start over from the beginning. I suppose I could demolish everything and build completely new relationships with people I’ve never lied to, in the past, but I don’t want to.
I have relationships, now, that I want to salvage. That’s a lot harder than starting fresh and new. Because there’s a difference between telling someone you’ve just met that you struggle with lying, but that you’re trying to change – and telling someone you’ve known for months that you’ve been lying to them. And that lying is such a way of life to you, that you can’t even remember what you’ve lied to them about.
That kind of truth is painful. I’m scared to say it. But I’m not going to be able to tell the truth about anything, if I don’t start here. And it just might help me start to trust myself, a little bit.