When I Lied Yesterday
Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.” Genesis 20:11-12
I lied yesterday and I don’t feel good about it. At the airport, my wife and I were traveling home from visiting our son in college, when I had to drop off my carryon bag on the jet bridge. Do you have any lithium batteries or electronics in this bag? I had two laptops in the bag, but I didn’t want to carry them with me on the plane. So, in a matter of seconds, these thoughts ran through my mind: I honestly don’t know if my computers have lithium batteries. Plus, what’s the difference if I have those laptops with me in the cabin or if they’re under the plane? They didn’t ask me this same question on the way here. I’m sure they don’t really care. They just have to ask that stupid question. So, I said no. As we got onto the plane, my wife looked at me and said, You lied. I knew at that moment that I’d failed. It was a simple question and I justified a dishonest response because it was convenient. In a split-second decision, that little lie displayed the extent of my integrity.
Under duress, we’re all tempted to lie when it serves our purposes to do so. We have our justifications, and we have our ways of convincing ourselves that it’s no big deal. This is what Abraham did in today’s passage. In the story, King Abimelech confronted Abraham for his lie about Sarah being his sister and not his wife. Abraham told this lie to protect himself, but when Abimelech took Sarah into his house, God told him he was going to die for taking another man’s wife. When Abimelech learned the truth, he confronted Abraham, who defended himself. Technically, I didn’t lie. She’s my half-sister. I never said she wasn’t my wife. Neither Abimelech nor God were fooled though. Abraham lied to protect himself, damaging his integrity and hurting those around him.
In my addiction, I lied all the time. In recovery now, I must embrace radical honesty. How then, does it look to my wife if I lie so easily about a stupid computer? I know that lying is wrong. Justifying my lie to ease my conscience doesn’t fool God or my wife. If I want to live in faith and recovery, then I must daily pursue rigorous honesty in all things, particularly when it’s inconvenient to do so.