On Sunday night, I introduced a room full of people to the imaginary world of Lie Land. Lie Land is full of liars. Everything is built on lies. It is impossible to tell the truth in Lie Land. The residents are unable to be or think or say truth.
I then asked them to imagine what it would be like to live in Lie Land.
(It’s funny I choose today to write about truth. Mel, my wife, has today blogged on something similar: honesty. Check it out!)
The absence of truth
Lie Land was part of a sermon on Jesus being ‘Truth’ (focussing on the middle part of “I am the way, the truth and the life”). I wanted people to explore what ‘truth’ is, but that’s a pretty daunting question. So a wonderful colleague of mine suggested Lie Land.
It worked brilliantly! People enjoyed a fun but though-provoking conversation, and the general consensus is that it would be a mess living in Lie Land. It would be a nightmare – constant confusion, no trust, nothing to hold onto. But the answer which made me think the most was this: the people of Lie Land would no nothing else, so wouldn’t know they were trapped in lies.
We don’t find joy joyful unless we know sorrow is an option. Light doesn’t make sense unless there’s darkness to compare it with. In the same way, lies can only be seen for what they are when exposed by truth.
Deceit, falsehood and lies are, at their core, the absence of truth. Or, I would say, the absence of The Truth.
Captive to lies
Jesus said to His disciples, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31). Truth is liberating, and it is liberating because we are held captive by something else: falsehood. If we weren’t, Jesus wouldn’t need to set us free.
In the story of the fall of humanity, we see that the root cause was twisted truth, half truth and outright lying (Genesis 3:1-5). I don’t think the situation has really changed. At the heart of our fallen lives is a fallen and broken understanding of what is true, what is right, what is good.
What we believe and think works itself out in practice, so being fooled into believing lies is a dangerous place to be.
The good news is this, though: salvation isn’t just about ‘getting saved’ and then waiting around for ‘heaven’. Salvation works itself out, and it leads to restoration and freedom. We may start our journey captive to falsehood, but Jesus tells us we don’t have to stay that way – “the truth will set you free”. He can break the lies.
What lies do you believe?
It might well be there are things you are utterly convinced of that are distorting your life that just are not true. In our own ways, we’re all living in Lie Land.
Paul encourages his readers in Romans 12:2 to ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’. I think he’s talking about something similar there. Our minds hold us back. What we believe ends up defining us, and many of us believe lies.
It might be lies about God. He can’t be trusted. He doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t understand because He’s never walked my path. He can’t be good. He’s got other things to worry about.
It might be lies about ourselves. We’re not worth anything. We know what’s best for ourselves. We are doing fine by ourselves. We’re determined by our past and the future can’t be different.
It might be lies broader than that. Hope is pointless. Nothing can change. Life has no meaning.
This may sound pretty serious. That’s because I think it is. Wrong thinking can destroy a person. We need to be vigilantly looking for the lies that could do that, and letting them have no place in our thinking or being.
The only antidote I offer is this: focus only on Jesus and make Him the yardstick against which all else is measured. If our eyes are on Him, saturated with Him and what He shows us is true, they will be better trained to spot things that are not like Him.
Lets His truth expose the lies.