“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” came the playground cry as untruth was exposed and ridiculed. At times I told my childhood half-truths and teenage porkies. In adulthood we become more economic with the truth in lie telling, as we cover up our mistakes and misdeeds, with the embarrassment they bring. A good portion of humble pie is always good for the soul, when we hold up our hand to say sorry for our ‘own goal’ or promise we failed to keep. I joke that 33 years in one parish suggests folk haven’t ‘found me out’ yet, but it has more to do with a willingness to say, “Sorry” when I get it wrong, and the forgiveness of people I work with.
The Bible describes the Devil as The ‘Father of Lies’. From the word ‘Go’ (Genesis) he’s been ‘at it’ sewing lies in our souls to persuade us ‘wrong is right’ & ‘black is white’. One great deception is conning us into believing that he, Satan, Lucifer, Accuser, The Angel of Light doesn’t exist and is a figment of our imagination, simply a cartoon forked tongue & tail character perched on our shoulder. As Solzhenitsyn said, “The line between good and evil runs through us all” Evil comes to each of us to tempt, falsely accuse, undermine, cut us off and isolate us from God, loved ones, neighbours and God’s Loving Purposes.
Here are two ‘Whoppers’: Lie 1 – “God doesn’t exist!” Friends, there is more chance that the Oxford dictionary exploded into existence than planet earth was formed without design. Here’s how the Devil’s lie works: he sows it into independent human thinking and deep desire to ‘be god of our own life’, is normalised by our world’s repetition and process of secularisation, removing God from the equation, and produces an intimidating culture in which people are inhibited, even embarrassed, to talk about their faith, hope & love in God. The Enemy conspires to exile and exempt people from faith, hope and love in God, and the many blessings they bring. We find ourselves in a frozen Narnia, which the White Witch has craftily connived to cast a spell on (CS Lewis’s Children’s Classic Narnia Series), We long for Aslan’s awesome Grace and Love to warm and colour our neighbourhood and nation’s life. Friends, from the Bible’s point of view, it’s a whopping great lie that God doesn’t exist. “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
Lie 2 – “God doesn’t love you!” Okay, so you believe there might be a God, but if there is a God, he surely can’t love me. Wrong, God loves you the way you are, and too much to leave you the way you are. Such lies can be sown by parents, teachers, peers, sadly even ‘gospel’ preachers. Tragically ‘shame’ sticks like superglue to our soul and we can’t shake off the lie that we are nothing, ‘dog’s dirt’, valueless, unlovable, ‘beyond the pail’. Such a lie sown by into broken lives makes a lot of sense, after all, ‘what other explanation could there be to explain the mess my life is in?’ And the World normalises the lie, judging and looking down on you. Conclusions: “There’s no way God loves me! No way God could ever love me!” It’s a whopping great Lie my friends. God loves you ‘to bits’, enough to die in your place, to absorb and soak in all your shame as he was crucified, to bury your sin and all that separates you from your loving heavenly parent God. “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
“This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” (1 John 4:8-12 / MSG).
Bible says loud and clear, “God exists, and Unconditionally loves You!”