I told a lie a little while ago, what one might consider a "white lie" as though blatant untruths came in colours. The lie was not meant to hurt anyone, in fact, I actually meant well when I did it. However, the challenge came because although I did not know the recipient of my lie very well, she knew two very important things about me:
1) That I was lying.
2) That I am a Christian.
As I closed my apartment door, the guilt of the lie weighed down upon me and my mind raced in an effort to convince myself that maybe she did not know that I was lying. It was pretty mind-blowing how a two second response to a trivial question could possibly dictate how this woman perceived me forever. I felt as though in her mind, I was "the liar", "that girl who lies about the silliest things" or even worse "that girl that claims to be a Christian".
In my state of irrational panic, I resolved that the only solution was to beg God to erase those few seconds from her memory. I came to my senses shortly afterwards and instead asked Him to forgive me. It was at that point that the Holy Spirit asked me a very important question.
Did I feel bad because I lied or because the lady found out? My completely honest answer was, because she found out. However, my anxiety stemmed from the fact that the lie poorly represented who I claimed to be and as a result what I claimed to stand for. The Holy Spirit then allowed me to know that the only reason I thought this, was because if the tables were turned, I would have defined her by this single mistake.
In the book of Romans, Paul talks about the fact that we are slaves to our sinful nature. He explains that even though we often want to do good, we keep doing awful things. Which would explain why no matter how spiritually mature we are, we often fall prey to temptation. Much like King David did, in 2 Samuel chapter 11 when he looked down from his roof and saw Bathseba bathing then proceeded to have an affair with this married woman.
Similarly, many well-known and well respected Christians find themselves at the centre of scandals, and are heavily judged by those who once held them in high esteem. Thus the cycle of gracelessness is perpetuated and a primary Christ-like characteristic is lost.
Time to Pause
Although my sin was not exactly scandalous, my guilt prompted me to stop for a moment and check my heart. I immediately remembered an instance in college when I found out that a gentleman that many people often praised and looked up to had stolen my pen and highlighter. From that day on, I labelled him a thief and dealt with him as such. Though I was never outwardly unkind to him, in my heart I continuously remembered his dirty sin.
As I write this, I am quite disappointed in myself, yet I had never thought about my actions in this way before. It is quite funny how we often pride ourselves in having a particular virtue until we really analyse our thoughts and our hearts only to find out the complete opposite.
The Bible explains that we do not only sin when we literally carry out a deed but also in our thoughts. So to my surprise, although I treated him well on the surface, I was constantly condemning him in my heart.
Starting with the Man in the Mirror
This discovery left me floored and prompted me to make a list of everyone that I could remember who had ever been victim to my ungracious, concealed labelling. After this, I asked God to forgive me for condemning these people and thanked Him for revealing this to me.
Though none of this changed the fact that at some point I would have to confront the lady that I lied to, I smiled at the fact that such a big lesson came out of a two second "white lie".
May we never forget that if God were to judge us by the same ungracious standards by which we judge others, we would be plastered with labels.
Danielle Jones was born on the beautiful island of Barbados to phenomenal parents. She currently works as an English Language teaching assistant at La Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander in the city of Cúcuta, Colombia. She hopes to be fluent in Spanish very soon, as well as to be an example of the love of Christ wherever she goes.
Danielle Jones' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/danielle-jones.html