Sunday, March 6, 2016

Why Total Honesty Regarding Sin Beats Lying Anyday

Taken from

By Joe Dallas

I hope we're clear on the difference between a struggle and a transgression. A transgression is a willful act of disobedience; a struggle is a temptation to commit that act. When I struggle, I'm tempted. When I transgress, I act.

I'm expected not to transgress, and that's fair. I can choose not to relapse; I can choose to avoid relapse setups. But I can't choose not to struggle. I'll be tempted, sometimes ferociously, sometimes mildly. And that puts me in the company of every saint who walks on this fallen ground.

But sometimes we forget that, especially when we know people are watching us and rooting for us. When the people you love see you reclaiming created intent, they often want the best for you. They want your story to be victorious and glowing; and let's face it---we all love seeing a sinner find redemption. So nobody can blame your family and friends for wanting you to do well.

Yet the desire to please others can override the need for honesty. This leads many a married man, for example, to present himself to his wife in a somewhat idealized light.

"How are you doin', honey?" she'll ask. She knows he goes to support group once a week and meets with his accountability partner, and she's dying to know what they discuss. But she respects his privacy and leaves it to him to volunteer any important details. Still, she's anxious. He's slipped in the past, and she wants, occasionally, some reassurance. "Any problems?" she asks. "Any temptations?"

He knows the answer she's hoping to hear. He's disappointed her in the past, and he'd love nothing more than to make her feel secure and safe. The truth is, he's sober, better, and occasionally tempted. That's not so bad; it's just not ideal. And oh, how he wants to give her ideal! So he hedges, just a bit: "Great, babe. No temptations, not a one. No problems."

It seems a small compromise; and in the scheme of things, I suppose it is. It avoids needless worries on her part and conveniently lets him off the hook. But here's the problem: if you start lying in one area, you'll redevelop the habit of lying in all areas. Remember Paul's take on leaven: "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" (1 Corinthians 5:6).

A little lying expands quickly into full-scale cover-ups and deceptions, because lying gives you the luxury of avoiding the uncomfortable truth. And lying is one sin you cannot avoid to flirt with, because it's a sin that protects, strengthens, and enhances sexual acting out.

If and when you struggle, admit it. If and when you improve, celebrate it. Above all, keep it real. "Real" isn't always pretty, but ultimately it's safer than "ideal" can ever be.


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