A Lying Tongue

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand liars. It’s difficult to form a relationship of any kind with a liar; they’re untrustworthy, unreliable and fake as hell. I’ve been thinking about the reasons why folk lie. Here are my top three:

They lie to avoid hurting others.

This is somewhat understandable. You may not want to hurt your coworker’s feelings so you compliment her hair or his shirt. You may tell your family member she’s a wonderful songstress when in actuality, her singing gives you a headache. While some people can take constructive criticism, there are those who lack the emotional strength to handle any type of constructive criticism. So you lie.

They lie to impress.

People who lie to impress others aren’t very satisfied with their lot in life. Instead of working on improving themselves or their situation, they’d rather lie and give the impression that they have it all together. In my 45 years on this earth, I found most people who lie in this manner have no real intention on improving themselves. They, again, talk a big game about all the changes they’re going to make but you’ll later discover, it was all lies.

They lie to avoid criticism or consequences.

I saw this while raising children. When you ask who spilled the juice all over the floor, most children lie and say it wasn’t them. They’re lying for fear of the consequences. As a parent, I always told my children they could always tell me the truth. Nothing is more important than establishing honesty early in children. The juice can be cleaned up. But if a parent rules with fear, children will continue to lie to avoid punishment, a beating or being yelled at.

As we mature into adults, some are still afraid of the consequence or criticism from telling the truth, so they lie.

Psychologists list a myriad of other reasons, but what’s interesting is they also distinguish between pathological and compulsive liars.

A pathological liar lies with intent.

There is a purpose or goal to their lies and they care little, if not at all, about the feelings or opinions of others. Manipulative and cunning, they get what they want without caring who it hurts in the long run. They also create their own reality and over time, are unable to separate their lies from the truth. As a matter of fact, if you even attempt to shatter this reality, they viciously attack you. So you learn to lie to avoid their wrath or to not hurt their feelings.

Psychologists suggest that those who suffer from Anti-Social Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder are pathological liars.

A compulsive liar lies habitually and constantly.

This type of liar exhibits very little control over their lies. There’s no purpose behind their falsehoods; they just lie about everything, anything and everyone, and tend to find the truth uncomfortable. Psychologists argue this is due to low self-esteem but if you’ve ever tried establishing a meaningful relationship with a compulsive liar, it’s damn near impossible. You’ll never really know how they really feel or what they really want because they lie all the time.

Psychologists suggest that some compulsive liars may suffer from ADHD, Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder.

There are more than 45 Bible verses that warn against lying and dealing with liars. Some of my favorite include:

Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Exodus 23:1 – “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.

Colossians 3:9-10 – Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

When I was a child and as a young adult, I lied all the time. As I got older, I realized it was because of many of the reasons noted above. I know I felt inadequate, insecure and small. Today though, I see no reason to lie. I am who I am and work everyday to become a better me.

Who’s In Your Corner?

While listening to Joel Osteen talk abut Job, something hit me. Job’s first wife encouraged him to curse God. Did anyone ever consider that his trial was to also reveal who was really in his corner? That maybe it served as an indirect test for her? To see what’s in her heart as well?

How many times have we gone through trials and received similar advice? Did you have a friend, coworker or spouse fail to encourage you to trust God and stay faithful during a trying time? Is that person still in your life? Do you think you can move to the next level having a friend or spouse giving advice like that?

The Bible says in Proverbs 14:7 “Leave the presence of a fool for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” And a fool, according to the Bible, is someone who disregards God’s word. Characteristics of a fool, according to Proverbs: a fool hates knowledge (1:22), takes no pleasure in understanding (18:2), enjoys wicked schemes (10:23), is quick-tempered (15:16), gets himself in trouble with his proud speech (14:3), mocks at sin (14:9), is deceitful (14:8). And…a foolish woman tears down her own house (14:1).

What’s ironic is that when Job’s wife cursed God, Job replied, “you speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God and not receive evil?” Job 2:10.

Job’s faith was strong despite her bitterness but it makes me wonder just how strong any of us will be during a tough time? There have been many times in my life where I gave up on God and instead chose to listen to a friend instead. I lacked the faith of Job and consequently, failed many a tests.

This time, however, I have failthful friends and family to help me through my trials. But, do you? Who’s in your corner?

Confidence In Your Calling

Are you confident that you hear God’s plan for your life? Or, are you like Barak, who was unsure and insisted Deborah come along?
There have been times in my life where I needed God’s confirmation or direction. But, instead of sitting in His silence, praying or reading the Bible, I looked for my pastor or a “more Christian” friend or family member to point me in the right direction. But, when we do so, we’re showing a lack of faith. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:7-13, “ But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
Every believer has the spirit within him. You grow in the spirit, and as a Christian, when you pray and meditate on His Word. Joshua 1:8 says “The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”.
And when you believe and have faith, you don’t need to rely on the words or advice of others. The woman with the issue of blood had so much faith, she believed all she had to do was touch the hem of His garment. She didn’t need to speak to a disciple to get his opinion.
But because Barak answered his call hesitantly, insisting Deborah come along he missed his blessing. Because of his dependence upon her and not Him, credit for the war victory went to a woman.
When we display a lack of faith and dependence upon man, what blessings and prosperities do we miss out on?

You Can’t Run From God

God commanded Jonah to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. Jonah refused because not only did he perceive the people as wicked; it was the capital of Assyrian empire, one of Israel’s biggest enemies. Instead of obeying God and heading to Nineveh, he sought passage on a boat headed in the opposite direction. But God sent a violent storm that almost tore the boat to pieces. Once the crew realized Jonah was responsible for the storm, they threw him overboard. And Jonah was swallowed up by a fish and remained there for three days.

With a newfound perspective, Jonah repented and prayed to God to set him free. God heard his cry and the whale spit him out — exactly where he started! On foot, it took Jonah three days to arrive in Nineveh and deliver God’s message.

The story of Jonah is an easy lesson to convey. He was disobedient, headstrong and thought he knew better so he refused to answer his calling. God punishes him, as He does with all of us and he subsequently repents. BUT something else about this story stood out to me:

God spit him out where he first started.

And that’s exactly how my life has gone. I’ve been laid off countless times and lived paycheck to paycheck for so long, I was beginning to believe that’s all I’d ever do. It seemed as if every time I took three steps forward, I went five steps back. What was most frustrating was that I was doing everything right. I excelled on my job, I went to and volunteered at church, read the Bible and refrained from dating. But during these past five months, I’d been spit out and placed in the same financial situation I was in when I chose exotic dancing 19 years ago. I noticed it quickly and immediately recognized it as a test; God was testing my faith in Him. But, Jonah’s story revealed a dimension I’d been missing: it was time to answer my calling.

When I was married and a stay-at-home mother, I began speaking for RAINN and volunteering in my community. I understood my calling was to help other child sexual abuse victims but I wanted to do so during my free time or on a part-time basis. It was my intention to work it like a side gig so it wouldn’t cross over into my “real” life. I didn’t want my family and friends to know too much about my past. So I did everything I could to keep both lives separate.

That wasn’t how God wanted me to handle it. As I published one anthology after another, I knew I was supposed to write my story. Heck, I always wanted to tell my story but the older I got, the less transparent I wanted to be…especially after having my son and working for a company I loved. But, God saw fit to lay me off. I couldn’t understand why I kept getting laid off. After all, I was doing everything “right.”

A friend of mine explained it simply, “you know what you’re supposed to do. But you got comfortable at that job and put it on the back-burner. God wanted to get your attention.”

And that He did. The moment I got laid off, I started writing my book and finished it in 12 weeks. But it was done out of reluctant obedience; my spirit was still rebellious. My primary goal was to get it done so God could reward me with a job.

But as the months wore on, it occurred to me that God didn’t just want me to do what He asked. He wanted me to do so cheerfully. I always thought this verse only referred to tithing; but 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 refers to anything God wills you to do:

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

So, I’ve stopped trying to hide my past and restrict social media posts from friends and family.  And the moment I changed my perspective and “sowed bountifully”, things began to change. Not only was I becoming more comfortable owning my story, but doors were opening up in places I never imagined. And I eventually landed a job! And I did so by remaining faithful, patient, in prayer and not relying on myself or man. Not only did I grow through this experience, but I managed to maintain my integrity in the process.

If there’s something in your heart you know He’s called you to do, step out on faith and do it cheerfully. You can’t run from God.