Poisoned By the Lies
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25
The other day, I heard about an old acquaintance who’d gotten sober and was doing well. I’d not seen him for a couple years, but in the time I knew him, he was never able to be honest about his addiction. Our relationship then, was marred by his dishonesty and deceit. So, when I heard he was sober and doing well, I was skeptical. In fact, I still am. I want him to do well, but we don’t have a foundation of trust, and so, I’m still dubious and it will take some amount of evidence and time to change my mind.
As soon as we meet another person, we’re connected by our mutual interaction. The closer we become, the stronger the connection. Most of us assume honesty on the part of the other, until we have reason to believe otherwise. Any reasonable foundation for a relationship must be built on trust and honesty. Once one of the individuals in a relationship lies – even once or twice – then that foundation is corrupted, becoming unstable. A normal, healthy relationship is built on honesty. Lies and dishonesty poison a relationship.
In today’s passage, Paul warned us against dishonesty, insisting that we must always choose to be truthful to one another. He acknowledged that we are members one of another, connected by a relationship that must be built on trust.
For those struggling with addiction, this is a life problem. Often, in our addiction, we don’t want others to know about our toxic behavior and so we try to cover it with lies. Our dishonesty then damages every interaction we have. You can’t trust anything he says. He lies about everything. The closer the relationship, the worse the damage. Once trust is broken, all of our connections become defined by deceit, which is a tremendously difficult thing to repair.
Many of us, as soon as we’ve gotten sober, want the trust to return. We feel we’ve changed, and we desire that the damage be undone – immediately. That’s not the way trust works though. Dishonesty fractures a relationship in a second, but it then can take years to repair the trust. Honesty though, is the only way back.
If we desire healthy connections with others, we must always choose honesty. If we have behaviors we feel we must hide, then we need to abandon those behaviors. If we’ve broken trust, then the only way to fix it is to start being honest now. It can be a long road back, but it’s the only way to repair what we’ve broken.