The Ugly Truth

I used to lie all the time. In fact I became rather good at it. I lied to my wife. I lied to my kids. I lied to my mother and sister. I lied to my friends and work colleagues. I lied to anyone who I was engaged in conversation with for any length of time. I lied face to face. I lied on the phone. I lied via text message. I lied online. I liked to lie. I was a walking, talking lie-ability.

I even lied to myself. And I was such an accomplished liar that even I began to believe myself. I still continued to believe that I was a more or less honest, upstanding husband, father, son, brother and so on. Like any addict I was delusional. I thought I could stop lying at any time and return to the real world. Every lie, however, took me a step further away from where I needed to be. My lies accumulated and created a sticky, tangled web from which there was no escape.

Why do we lie? Why are some of us seemingly allergic to telling the truth. Well at the heart of it is self preservation. Lying is fundamentally a selfish act. The liar seeks to preserve their reputation and prevent others from seeing what lurks beneath the lies – the ugly, sinful truth. Why confront that when you can be mesmerised by beautiful, glittering lies. Lies are fluffy, soft and shiny. The truth, on the other hand, is all sharp edges and hard surfaces. Lies are beautiful. The truth is no oil painting.

The truth regarding me was not a pretty sight. And eventually it was exposed for all to marvel at it in its malignant magnificence. They say the truth will set you free but it didn’t feel like that every time it happened to me. And it always did. I wasn’t as good a liar as I thought I was for I was always found out. That moment when you realised you were exposed and cornered; when your blood turned to ice and your heart lurched into the pit of your stomach. There is no more sickening feeling.

It was then and only then that I saw the lies for that they really were. I saw the pain and distress I caused my loved ones. I saw that beneath the cocky, swaggering exterior I was nothing but a lilywhite coward. My legs turned to jelly and I struggled to breathe. I was overcome with nausea and self pity. I became nothing. Without my protective cloak of lies the cruel, ugly truth burned me to a crisp. It left me naked and bleeding, ashamed to look at myself in a mirror. I still struggle with that even to this day.

Learning to tell the truth again is hard work. When your default setting is to lie it takes a conscious act to do anything but that. The truth is clunky and cumbersome. It trips you up and slows you down. The truth is sitting in a huge traffic tailback as Liar Airlines zooms past overhead. Learning to tell the truth again is like learning to walk again; one painful, uncertain step at a time. It is so tempting to fall back into old habits and tell a little, white one just to oil the wheel the oils of life.

But one lie is never enough just like one drink is never enough for an alcoholic. Every landslide starts with one tiny stone rolling. And I must never be swallowed up again by an avalanche of my own creation. My lies are the smokescreen I create in order to hide sinful secrets. Secrets that have broken me time and time again. I cannot and will not allow that to happen again. I must fight the urge to lie and avoid the liars who have led me down dark paths before.

Every addict is an accomplished liar. Strip away the lies and you see the addiction for what it truly is. The truth to an addict is like kryptonite to Superman. It brings the strongest miscreant to their knees. It obliterates them and it is only then that they can start to rebuild. From scratch. The truth is a wrecking ball in the cosy life of a liar. It is radical and violent. There is nothing cuddly about it. Every avenging angel comes with fire and fury, not fluffy clouds and heavenly choirs.

I cling to the truth. It burns and cuts me. I slip and stumble but I cling on for dear life. An ugly truth for a battered, dirty soul.

Do you struggle with telling the truth?

How have lies impacted on your life?

64 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth

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  1. I used to lie all the time too…its such a freeing feeling to be able to tell the truth now, and know that even if I forget something, doesn’t mean its because I forget the lie, and that someone around me might remember what actually truly happened because I embrace truth now. good write and read. God bless

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      1. I started caring what God thought of me. Then basically I went through a HUGE transformation where friends changed, and other habits changed, and I lost a lot of crappy things about myself. Sort of like an entire renewal took place. I held myself accountable to God. 🙂

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          1. It definitely happens to all of us! Yes its important to just keep moving forward. God knows we are going to mess up, even as devoted followers of Christ. His word says “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” — We have access through Jesus for everlasting life, life constantly renewing. — I’ve also found that I can be WAY too hard on myself! Perfectionism at work. So instead of trying to please myself or anyone, I just focus on pleasing God and since He knows I’m gonna make mistakes (not meaning to purposely make them and then just say sorry), but to accept the Grace God so freely gives to us, His children.

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  2. Preservation. Self preservation you said, and you would be right.
    Mostly lies come about because it is easier to create the end result we know we want if we help pave the way…
    “The shop will be open, let’s go now and you’ll be able to buy it!” Because you want somebody out the house, yet you know the shop will be shut.
    Just occasionally, we may need to steer a dangerous situation towards a safer conclusion than pure honesty would bring about.
    He held the knife to her throat “Tell me you love me. You do, don’t you?” His grip tightened…
    “Yes, I love you.”

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  3. Personal experience is that one lie lead to an other and then an other and at one point they will come back to bite your ass.Best thing to me is keep it simple and spit out the true,bad or good.unfortunately there are lies we have to keep inside and live with them,making peace with our conscience.

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  4. Best to avoid situations that might tempt one into transgression, yes? Living free and clear and without secrets–there are simply no lies to tell.

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  5. This is a very painful subject. Being on the receiving end of lies is the recurring theme of my relationships. I know men and lies. And I’ve been at war with them (the men and the lies) all these years. I have a 7th sense for lies. I detect them even when the radars are off. And I can’t remember how many times I’ve been fighting with all strength I had to hear the truth that I alreaedy knew. Lies are venom to relationships. Since the essence of relationships (for me) is to know one another. Time is going to tell if my marriage can endure more lies. I surely can’t…
    I’m glad you found your way back. Please inspire more people to turn around. A world full of lies (facade) is just so saddening.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are so right about lies. What I like about your writing is the honesty and the humor. The humor lightens the message enough for it to be practical an not preachy. I appreciate that because I don’t think its helpful if people are not willing to read it. I also wanted to let you know I linked your blog to a new post I just wrote, and I spoke of the blog post where you wrote of your pride when your daughter won Writer of the Month. I am taking the everyday inspiration class and that blog and her picture really touched me.

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  7. Honestly, this post was not a coincidence, but God he always knows what we need. I’ve found out for 2018, I’ve been a part of a lie. A lie one I didn’t know I was a part of and another lie that has kept me shackle in fear, confusion, and hinder me from forgiving others. But I’m releasing the betrayal and opening God to help me forgive, forget, and move on.

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  8. Pretty human, albeit self-destructive– stuff…It started in the Garden of Eden: self-protection. People disobey God and then attempt to cover it up… We need God to “rewire” us. 😉 Thank you for your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable! Your post is extremely powerful!

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  9. Thanks for your hectic honesty!

    Before I was a Christian I was very displaced and moved around a lot and didn’t really have healthy community. That along with a gambling and smoking addiction cause me to not really live but survive. Lots of lies needed to get through the day and look after number one. After years of this your right about getting lost in it. Some of that junk every now and again raises its filthy head even now being a new creation and all. Thank God for grace, a renewed mind and fresh new days.

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  10. Your post seems to have hit a nerve as this is an issue that effects so many. I have been fairly (far from perfect) good in not lying to others but have lied to myself time and time again. I have significant shortcomings and addictions that need to be addressed (I’m working on them!) but I’ve convinced myself time and time again over the past 30 years I’m a much better person than I really am. I need to see myself accurately for who I am; a sinner in need of God’s grace.

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  11. Lying is a way to attempt to maintain control, unfortunately we have none to begin with so why try? I’ve found that I’ve lied when I’m embarrassed about the truth, or I have lied by omission. My goal in being present, brave and kind is to be authentic…it’s soooo hard. It’s almost more natural to tell these small white lies. I once read a sign that said, “if you never lie, you never have to remember anything.” My memory sucks. Ha!

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  12. I have lied several times in my adult life and it has always come back to hit me hard. I now tell the truth no matter how hard it is. It is better to be up front that way everyone knows where they stand. The fact is that this remark is totally contradictory. I am currently lying to myself that i am ok with my ED. So in essence i am not even following my own advice. Very warped……………..

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  13. Once again Stephen you have accurately and with chilling depth described the the enveloping web of lies us alcoholics and addicts weave to keep existing in our sickness.. To fully experience recovery, we must embrace truth with the same tenacity we chased our addictions. This is the only way I know to rebuild the bridges of trust I had torn down. Please keep writing and sharing, it is a blessing to read.
    Chuck

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  14. So these lies; the infrequent lies that oil the cogs of life, are most familiar to me. And because of this, it’s a conundrum to me—all those other, habitual and significant lies you speak of. If find myself too honest at times, which is why my social circle has decreased, exponentially over the years. At 32, I am easily comparable to a crotchety, old woman. So what are your thoughts on too much honesty vs. too many lies?

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    1. Firstly I don’t think you are old at 32. And I’m sure you are not crotchety either. I decreased my social circle to get away from the hypocrisy & the lies. I left my church & running club. I don’t really have any friends now just my wife & kids so I have less reason to lie. I fled from the fakeness of life. I couldn’t face it anymore. You?

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      1. My circle decreased when I left my fiancé 8 months ago and was facing singledom, after a 7 year(mortgage and three-step kid) relationship. With no one to impress, I find my lies are more like premature truths. They oil the cogs to coerce me to act: make a therapy appointment my anxiety disorder; to exercise and write, instead of sinking further into depression.

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          1. It was my choice to leave and with the kids involved, it was the toughest decision I’ve ever made. The new activities are just that—new, but also tangible and refreshing. I’m intrigued by the social aspect I’ve encountered in blogging and reading other’s posts. After Grad-school ended, Fall of 2015–I found the monotony of life outside of college, to be very unfulfilling—especially as I played housewife to a continually ungrateful household, with very little, intellectual stimulation from those who were left to interact with, socially.

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            1. I’m sure you thought long and hard before making such a tough decision. WordPress has been great for me. I’ve had some very bad experiences on other social media platforms so to find a place where people are raw and honest is a real blessing.

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  15. I hate lies, but I see people surrounding me prefer lying and if not exact lies, it’s manipulation, twisting of truth.. And I observed some do it as hobby, it’s not required to twist the facts but still they twist.

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  16. I have a brother in law who is an addict. I can barely call him human. He only views people as opportunities. Recently he wrote an apology on facebook probably so he could scam more people. He lies so much and his cousins and uncles and aunts believe him. I told him as nice as I could that a few things I think he needed to hear. His apology turned to swear words and hatred and he told me to F off. People who habitually lie don’t like the truth. They don’t like being found out. It’s true of most sins. I am glad you broke free from these things. We all have sins we need God’s help to free us from.

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