Dear Fellow Pilgrims,
On a warm July day when I was about ten years old, my trusty dump truck and backhoe longed to break free from the confines of the sandbox and dig in real dirt. So it was that my father, upon arriving home from work that afternoon, noticed a disturbance had occurred in a certain flower bed alongside the driveway.
“Were you playing in the flower garden?” he asked.
“Don’t lie to me,” he responded.
“Well, I drove my truck around the yard.”
“Did you drive it in the garden by the driveway?” he asked.
Who was I kidding? A couple plants had been broken off, holes had been dug, and there were Tonka-sized tire tracks. I was busted.
The discipline came fast. For digging in the flower bed, I had to apologize to my mother and fill in the holes.
For lying about it, I was grounded for two weeks — no friends, no bicycle.
The consequences of lying were always far more severe than the consequences of the original offense. Honesty, I was taught, is not optional. A man is only as good as his word. Everyone makes mistakes, but only scoundrels lie about them. Time and again my father drilled into me the notion that honesty is the cornerstone of character. I grew to value truth as the beacon of a moral life and deceit as the marker of a sinful life.
Apparently, this was not the code with which we were all raised. We now live in a world in which bold-faced lies and brazen deceit are passed off as fake news and alternative facts. It is a strange culture for someone like me. Fabrications and fictions are given equal and often more credence than facts. There are no consequences for lying; indeed, it is almost expected. Character seems quaint. “Truth,” Pontius Pilate scoffs, “what is truth?” In being so dismissive, Pilate illustrates that those who believe truth is arbitrary are capable of any sort of evil, up to and including killing Christ himself.
My friends, we live in tenuous and even dangerous times. The greatest threat we face may not come from potential terrorists, rogue governments, or guns on our streets. Truly destructive forces destroy from within, starting with a willful disregard of the truth.
Journey well and pray always.