Lying About My Donuts
Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies. Genesis 27:9-10
When I was in residency, I discovered a new brand of donuts, which were amazing but also packed with sugar and fat. It wasn’t just the donuts, but in residency, I began to gain a lot of weight, of which I was ashamed. On my way home from work, I’d stop at a gas station and pick up a few donuts, eating them as I drove. Closer to home, I’d stop at another gas station to get rid of the evidence. Technically, I’m not lying to my wife. If she asked about donuts and I said no, that would be a lie. If I get rid of the evidence, then she’ll never ask, and I’ll never have to lie. I’m actually doing this for her own good, so I don’t have to lie to her.
Hiding donut evidence may be amusing until you realize how addictive that behavior was. It’s not at all funny when you realize that, at the same time, I was developing an opioid addiction. Displaying identical behavior, I abused pills and hid the evidence. Why did I live a lie? I lied because I was ashamed of my profoundly unhealthy behavior. I lied because I I knew my wife would be hurt and angry. I told myself that it was my own struggle and that she was better off not knowing. By not telling her, I’m actually protecting her. I’ll just deal with my problem, and she’ll never be affected. To shield my conscience and to avoid consequence, I lied to myself about lying to my wife.
I’ve got to wonder what lies Rebekah and Jacob told themselves in today’s passage. In the story, we read how Isaac intended to bless his favorite son, Esau. Esau, however, had previously traded away his blessing to his brother Jacob. So, when Rebekah overheard Isaac’s plan to bless Esau, she and her son planned to trick Isaac into blessing Jacob instead. Esau traded his birthright to me. I deserve it. Father doesn’t know the truth and the truth would hurt him. So, I’ll lie to him for his own good and I’ll receive the blessing. Everyone will get what they deserve. This deception is actually a good thing. We’re not told exactly what Rebekah and Jacob thought, but they must have lied to themselves to justify their lie to Isaac.
When we lie, we always tell ourselves there’s a good reason. The reality though, is that we lie to protect ourselves from the painful truth. We’re ashamed of the truth, knowing that it will hurt us, so we do whatever it takes to avoid it. We lie. Then, we convince ourselves that lying is for the best. This is for your own good. I’m actually doing this for you. This may be the biggest lie – convincing ourselves that wrong is actually right. I’m lying to you for your own good.