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Halloween Lies

Halloween Lies

All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him . . . Genesis 37:35

When my daughter was young, like many of you, we had a Halloween tradition of carving pumpkins. When she went off to college, that tradition ended – or so I thought. Then, she surprised me by coming home her freshmen year, just for Halloween, colluding with her mother to get home without my knowledge. It was a surprise which she repeated he next year. This year though, she was genuinely busy, and we missed Halloween. The week after though, my wife suddenly insisted that I had to get Wednesday afternoon off work for some sketchy reason. I had a lot of questions, but she kept up what turned out to be a complete charade. She and my daughter had once again schemed to get her home to carve pumpkins. It was a good lie, for a good reason, but once my wife committed to it, she had to keep up the deception, telling more lies to cover for the first one.

I was touched and I certainly found it morally excusable for my wife and daughter to conspire, surprising me for Halloween, but the story illustrates that our lies grow and consume us. Once we employ a lie, we’re often trapped by it and must either confess or commit to it, telling more lies.

In my addiction, my entire life was built around my secret drug use. Deception was a way of life to which I was absolutely committed. Then, when my lies came to light, I shattered the trust of those closest to me. What else was he lying about? Everything was under suspicion because my life was built on lies. Once I started lying, I couldn’t stop.

This seems to be what happened to Joseph’s brothers in today’s passage. In the story, the brothers sold Joseph into slavery and then told their father that he’d been killed by wild animals. That wasn’t the end of the lie though. When their father mourned, they had to mourn with him. It’s so sad. Struck down in his prime. We just miss him so much. At that point, they didn’t have a choice about lying. The lie now controlled them and unless they wanted to confess, they had to keep the lies coming.

Most of us have been here. We’ve told a little lie, thinking we weren’t hurting anyone but then we became trapped by it. As that one lie multiplied, we wish we’d never started lying but it’s too late. Only when it all falls apart, do we discover that we’ve sacrificed our integrity for that stupid little lie. The truth can be painful, but lying usually just delays and multiplies the pain. If we desire to walk in faith and recovery, we must daily embrace uncomfortable, rigorous honesty with ourselves and with others – unless it comes to surprising Dad for pumpkin carving. Then it’s actually OK to lie.

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