I live by the airport. It’s no secret (to us who live near) that the cops set up speed traps right along the interstate stretch just west of the airport. They are there often, AND usually there’s at least 5 cop cars with people pulled over within a quarter-mile stretch.
I may have been guilty of posting on Facebook once, “Warning if you speed past the airport, you will get pulled over…. And I will laugh at you.” It seems simple enough, you speed- you get pulled over. However, often on the interstate you can get by with going 9 over, and no one will say a thing. Just not next to the airport- you will get pulled over there.
How much of our lives are like that? It’s ok to do something wrong, as long as you don’t get caught. Or it’s ok to do something wrong to a certain degree. It’s ok to tell a little white lie… no one will ever know. It’s ok to stretch the truth to make myself look better, as long as no one can prove any otherwise. Oh, but the pleasure I get in calling someone out on those white lies… laughing as they get pulled over…
I can honestly say that I used to be the person who couldn’t keep her stories straight. I would embellish a little here, leave out important details there, and tell a story that had just a slight bit of truth in it. I was not a good person before Jesus got a hold of me.
One time I went grocery shopping without my husband. I am a penny-pincher. He is a `get the good stuff no matter how much it cost’ kind of person. We just so happened to be out of dishwasher detergent. As I was reaching for the name-brand detergent, I glimpsed at the price. Just to the left I saw the off-brand detergent… three dollars CHEAPER! I put that expensive soap back on the shelf and grabbed the cheaper one.
This little voice inside my head said, “Renee, you know your husband wants you to get the other one.” But I ignored it. I did know that… but this was THREE WHOLE DOLLARS here.
The whole car ride home, I just knew I had done the wrong thing… I came home, and my husband was asleep in our room. I opened the bag that had the off-brand detergent in it. I poured the detergent into our old name-brand box. There- he will never know.
And he didn’t. But man did I know! And man, it was tearing me up inside! I hadn’t been caught by my husband, I had been caught the Holy Spirit.
That night as I loaded the dish washer, I fessed up to my husband. He shrugged his shoulders. “Honey I don’t care which one you buy as long as the dishes get washed. But why did you feel the need to lie?”
GUILTY. I lied. It was so little. It did not even need to be done. I could have easily told him the truth. Instead I drug around a little lie… a little manipulation… I weighed myself down in guilt… even though my husband didn’t catch me.
I got pulled over by the Holy Spirit. I was convicted, but not condemned. This conviction was not a conviction of guilty. It was a conviction of, `you are better than this,’ and `your relationships are worth more than that, especially your relationship with God.’ There is no room lies and manipulation in any relationship.
Instead of fining me… instead of taking me to jail… I was given a new life in Christ. Instead of getting the punishment I deserve, I was forgiven- Because of what Jesus did on the cross. My works cannot make up for any of my choices. Works alone cannot save anyone. It is grace through faith that saves you. Because I am loved and forgiven, the process of change began in my life.
I’m not perfect, but I do honestly strive for the truth now. And not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to. It makes life so much easier. When I get tempted to tell anything but the truth, you better believe I recognize that conviction from the Holy Spirit. I don’t need the guilt hanging over me. I am better than lies. I’m better than stretch truths. My relationships are better than that! I strive to show all the love of Jesus through me, which includes being truthful.
If you are carrying around guilt, fess up, live in God’s grace. He does not want to condemn you. He wants you to be free to live with Him!
“But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Colossians 3:8-10 (NIV)