Lying is everywhere. It is so prevalent. We all lie. Even so-called ‘good people’ lie – it is in our fallen nature to lie.
So we can understand, as persons desiring morality, that lying is something we need to ward against, actively, every day, so that more and more we are people with integrity. That is, what we are really feeling and thinking aligns with our actions, which really means we work on our feeling and thinking so it is no longer pathological, as far as we can help it.
In determining the way to integrity the following truth is of great benefit to know:
“Lying is an attempt to bridge the gap of our wishes and fantasies, to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we are really like.”
— Pamela Meyer
We lie most of all because there is a gap between our fantasies and the facts of our lives. If we can connect with those conscious and unconscious wishes and fantasies, we are most likely to be able to spot the liar in us. And when we go on such a journey with God – to acknowledge our moral weaknesses of identity – then we may also see where others might be tempted, but we will also empathise with them. They have the same problems we do. We are in this together.
Lie spotting has as its goal – from the virtuous point of view – the integrity of ourselves and of others. We want to protect everyone’s integrity as much as we can. We want to give the benefit of the doubt wherever we can. We want to ensure that we don’t expose people to temptations they have weaknesses for, if we know them, just like we want to stay away from temptations dangerous to us. And if they are doing this for us, everyone wins, because love is known in how we consider and protect one another where we can.
If we wish to live well we will seek to nurture integrity. Humility. Courage. Honesty. Sacrifice. And more. We will be honest about our inherent lack of honesty. We will enjoy the truth, which is not an enjoyable one. We will acknowledge those weaknesses of our wishes and desires, whether conscious or unconscious.
Once we acknowledge what our wishes and desires are, and we are honest about how we are tempted to tell a lie, we are well positioned to keep this information at the forefront of our thinking and acting.
When we live with our weakness at the forefront of our being, though not letting it shift our confidence, we have the truth, and that truth will set us free.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: to Pamela Meyer.