“Ah yes, truth. Funny how everyone is always asking for it but when they get it they don’t believe it because it’s not the truth they want to hear.” – Helena Cassadine
“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? – Galatians 4:16
And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. – Jeremiah 9:3-4
Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. – Psalm 52:3
Some People Don’t Want to Hear the Truth
I was speaking with several individuals about a controversial topic and was attacked for having spoken the truth. It was the third time in a period of several weeks. Even though my words were verifiable, I was accused and berated. I finally concluded that some people don’t want to hear the truth because it doesn’t fit with what they want to believe; they would rather live in a state of delusion than hear the truth. They hold a set of beliefs and if you present new knowledge that threatens those beliefs then you may not get the reaction you had hoped. They want to maintain their beliefs at all cost and go back to their TV shows, watch their favorite sports team, and busy themselves with the minutiae of life. They don’t want the truth.
Harsh Truths Or Pleasant Lies
Sometimes the truth hurts and we’d rather not hear it. It hurts when a spouse tells us that we’ve gained too much weight. We’d much rather hear how nice our new jeans look on us. But which would be better for the hearer – to be told how great they look so he or she is self-satisfied, or to be told he os she gained too much, and begins exercising?
People May Not be Ready to Accept the Truth
The foundations of our entire society are based on lies. To be popular, earn a paycheck, or function in society, and even in church, people often have to abandon or compromise truth. Churches should be bastions of truth, yet sometimes become controlled by a small group of people. To remain in their good graces believers sometimes compromise what they know to be true. People are coerced and pressured – often in subtle, unspoken ways, to go along with the group, no matter how out of alignment with God’s Word it is. Christians sometimes act like it’s more important to fit in and be accepted than to live by the truth.
Lying in Actions
We attended a church one time and a second collection was taken to help pay for youth in the church to attend Christian school. My spouse felt obligated to put money in the collection plate. I later realized that even though we had young children at the time, no one in the church asked us if we needed financial assistance to send them to Christian school. We were the victims of peer pressure. It really wasn’t a collection for “youth in the church to attend Christian school” it was a collection for “certain youth in the church to attend Christian school.” It was a subtle lie. Lies can be practiced not just spoken.
The Right That Springs From Might Attempt to Subvert Truth
“Truth is not determined by majority vote.” – Doug Gwyn
I dealt with a situation with another believer one time when they did something wrong. This individual made an excuse for what they did and got someone else to agree with her that she didn’t do anything wrong. It was a lie and an attempt to pressure me to go along with it by employing another individual who was willing to turn a blind eye to the wrongdoing. People act as if they can create their own reality if they get other people to agree with them. It gave me a window into how people strive so hard to try to cover their wrongdoing, and subvert truth.
These people are frightening in that they attempt to take their lies to the next level. I’ve seen church leaders use this, as well as forum monitors. Sometimes an entire group of people can be involved in a delusion or promotion of a lie.
When someone challenges a “group think” situation then that person is sometimes attacked, discredited, ridiculed, ostracized, and/or banned from the group. There are some people and groups of people who are not yet ready to accept truth.
The Use of Authority to Subvert Truth
Church leaders, Pastors, and forum monitors sometimes act as if by virtue of their position that they are the determiner of what is truth and what is not. They self-delude and then delude others. This is a form of pride that is dangerous and causes much mischief.
Confirmation bias is another way that people lie to themselves. They take a position on an issue (usually a position that is self-serving) and look for confirmation that their viewpoint is the right one, while ignoring other sources of information that disprove their position.
From Psychology Today: Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true.
The article goes on to discuss group-decision making, and how it’s crucial to obtain information from each member separately so as to avoid peer pressure. They gave an example of police procedure, wherein to ensure reliable information from multiple witnesses to a crime, witnesses are not allowed to discuss prior to giving testimony.
These are some ways that lies are promoted and truth is suppressed. Let us pray that our eyes will be opened to the ways that we welcome lies and suppress the truth, and the ways that others do so, including Christians.
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; Ephesians 1:15