I just stumbled across this article on Newsweek.com entitled “The Truth About Lying”, which takes a look at our current culture of lying. It offers a tough diagnosis (DZ actually posted about the same book that this article references last week. Check it out here). It exposes how we don’t even recognize when we’re lying any more, and how we think that lying is easier, “and in some ways it’s almost more acceptable.” Here’s an excerpt:

We are a culture of liars, to put it bluntly, with deceit so deeply ingrained in our psyches that we hardly even notice we’re engaging in it. Spam e-mail, deceptive advertising, the everyday pleasantries we don’t really mean—”It’s so great to meet you!” “I love that dress”—have, as Feldman puts it, become “an omnipresent white noise we’ve learned to tune out.” And Feldman also argues that cheating is more common today than ever. The Josephson Institute, a nonprofit focused on youth ethics, concluded in a 2008 survey of nearly 30,000 high school students that “cheating in school continues to be rampant, and it’s getting worse.” In that survey, 64 percent of students said they’d cheated on a test during the past year, up from 60 percent in 2006. Another recent survey, by Junior Achievement, revealed that more than a third of teens believe lying, cheating, or plagiarizing can be necessary to succeed, while a brand-new study, commissioned by the publishers of Feldman’s book, shows that 18- to 34-year-olds—those of us fully reared in this lying culture—deceive more frequently than the general population.

Yikes! I’m 30! I cheated in high school! This is me!

Isn’t it disturbing that we don’t even recognize many of our statements as lies? We just see them as being courteous and polite or even worse, we think they carry some sort of theological significance like “imputation”. Man, we are very skilled at self-deception!

This is the perfect evidence to the fact that we do not believe in the cross most of the time. We lie because we still think that we live under the Law and therefore compensate. We try to smooth the edges a little bit here and there with some small “untruths”. But, before we know it we have effectively split from who we really are. We get so compartmentalized that we can’t even remember “the way we were”. This is when it is the hardest for us to ever hear the Gospel. You can almost hear the “ping!” of God’s words bouncing off of our self-made fortresses of lies. The giant facades that we think are our safety actually block out all light from ever getting into where we really live.

Thankfully, the cross is true despite our unbelief, and God has not left us in our self-made prisons. Sometimes it seems He orchestrates our entire lives for that one break-down moment, where even the smallest bit of light begins to shatter our dark worlds, and, as a result, it’s as if we begin to breathe for the first time.