This past Friday, USA Today included an article stating that ours is a culture “deluged by deception.” Citing the recent Lance Armstrong incident, and combining it with other illustrations from celebrities, sports figures, TV reality shows, and politics, the article more than documented how we have become a generation that not only lives by deception, but actually feeds on it.
As I read the article, a wave of deep sadness swept across my soul. I could add to what the author mentioned the ongoing deceptions by spiritual leaders of all sorts and stripes, including some recent ones that have left people I know reeling. And, truth be told, I have had to remember those times when I too have preferred “image” to reality.
For any and all reasons, we should be in a time of deep lament for the ways in which we have created a culture of deception. For whatever else the Christian life is supposed to be, it is meant to be a life of truth, genuineness, and authenticity.
Jesus described himself as “the truth,” and he personified it in the way he lived every day–unlike the scribes and pharisees, who were whitewashed tombs: “looking good” on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones.
Henri Nouwen once described what he called the fatal exchange, and it is when we exchange authenticity for image. Fatal. Deadly. “Over and out.”
We will not survive if our penchant for lies is not overcome by repentance and the embrace of truth. Whether it’s misrepresenting the consequences of our national debt, or being duped by people who get some devilish delight in faking us out, we will not survive as individuals or as nations when our house of cards comes crashing down. In many ways….it already is.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy!