Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.
Proverbs 16:13 (NIV)
Dishonesty is appealing because it perpetuates a false image or fantasy - something that allows an escape from reality.
Life is difficult and challenging. Each of us has a desire to be at the center of a created world where we are valued, cherished, affirmed, loved, and encouraged. For many of us, this is not the case. The reality of abuse, neglect, disfavor, and labelling can result in the creation of an alternate existence. When life hurts, we create characters and transform ourselves to fit our imagined narrative.
From this genesis, dishonesty is birthed. What was protective becomes a permanent escape. We transport ourselves to a land where consequences can be avoided; where gratification is immediate and accountability distasteful.
I have been a follower of Jesus for thirty years and at one point in my Christian journey, I lived this insanity. I created real and virtual versions of myself that were gallant, charming, attractive with limitless resources. My reality was the lie, and my fantasy was real. I extended this to my actual life, where I projected an attractive, successful, and winsome image. People were not individuals but objects to be manipulated and co-opted into my world. This make-believe helped me avoid (or at least postpone my interaction with) responsibility, failure, fear, anxiety, disappointment, expectation, and challenging relationships.
Salvation and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit do not always and immediately change our circumstances. We do, however, develop the tools to confront and deal with our difficult realities. If we have “recovered” from a past of pathological dishonesty, we must be constantly weary that we are not seduced again into its grip (Galatians 5:1). We must find spaces in which there is never an expectation of perfection, so that we are not tempted to pretend that we are flawless and always acceptable.
Dishonesty says “Escape!”. Accountability says, “use the support around you to confront difficult realities”. Choose accountability.