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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thou Shall Not Lie

When I was growing up I was often told by my parents, pastor, and pretty much any adult to not tell a lie. While I agree, that telling a lie can be harmful, I feel as though the concept of telling a lie was not fully explained. I was, of course, told not to lie to others, that my lies will always come back to haunt me, that the truth would indeed seek me out like a grim reaper seeking it's next soul, ready to punish me for my deeds. I do not, however, remember anyone telling me how harmful it was to lie to my own self. 

It would not be until I grew well into adulthood that I would learn, through self discovery, the dangers of lying to my self. 

The lie told to one's self is perhaps the most dangerous lie that one could ever conjure. 

I was reminded of this important concept while reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "The Brother's Karamazov." In the story during a meeting between the father of the Karamazov brothers and the Elder of the local monastery, the Elder tells the father that in order to find salvation one of the things the father needs to do is to stop lying. The father asks if the elder refers to a lie he just told about somebody else, to which the Elder responds, 

"The main thing is that you stop telling lies to yourself. The one who lies to himself and believes his own lies comes to a point where he can distinguish no truth either within himself or around him, and thus enters into a state of disrespect towards himself and others. Respecting no one, he loves no one, and to amuse and divert himself in the absence of love he gives himself up to his passions and to vulgar delights and becomes a complete animal in his vices, and all of it from perpetual lying to other people and himself. The one who lies to himself is often quick to take offence."

This is a powerful reminder of the dangers of lying to yourself. 

To lie to yourself is to look into the mirror at your own reflection and to not recognize that which is before you. 

For so long I could not recognize the person standing before the mirror. I had to remove lie from lie from lie away from myself, like the tearing of a bandaid from a wound. It hurts, but when those lies are removed and you see yourself for who you really are it is like the adjoining of two old friends who have long last been together. 

What are the lies you tell yourself?
Do you see yourself as who you truly are? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

God in a Box

(This drawing was done by David Hayward. You can find more cartoons like this one at NakedPastor. Brilliant, simply brilliant.)

No matter how hard one tries, God can not be put in a box. And yes, that includes the most popular box...the Bible. It also includes the church and even the very name 'God'. As well, it includes Christianity, religion, song and hymn, prayer and servitude, love and hate. If God fits into the confines of any such box, that is not God. Yet we continue to try to fit that box around the infinite possibility, but as soon as we do, we eliminate the potential for possibility, for mystery...for so much more. 

God has no religion
- Mahatma Ghandi