Lent #12 – Little Lies

Written as a part of a Lent 2017 project. 

Luke Dowding

How often do we lie? Monthly, weekly, daily, hourly? How often we do we find ourselves slightly bending the truth to accommodate something we’ve done wrong, something we’ve not done at all, or something we’re ashamed of and want to hide?

As children we’re taught that lying is bad, but occasionally white lies are acceptable; perhaps when a parent has to hide something from their child or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Lies are bad, but omitting the truth or perhaps bending it slightly is acceptable when the situation calls for it.

I’ve recently become utterly obsessed with the TV series “How to Get Away with Murder”. It’s a gritty, messy, provocative drama which focuses on a small group of individuals who become embroiled in a series of murders. It documents their descent into fear, loathing and violence, all due to one lie which led to a spiralling series of bigger lies and a tangled web of deceit which is now completely unbreakable.

Perhaps it may seem a little melodramatic to compare the lies we tell daily to those used to cover up a series of fictional murders, but it’s easy enough to become snared in a similar way which damages not only our view of the world around us but also the relationships which we have within it.

To be quite frank, I’m an excellent liar. I assume it’s partly down to the years spent in the closet but I also just seem to have a knack for it: the bigger the better. It’s also something that consumes me with guilt and so with a heavy heart I admit that I could never join the crew of “How to Get Away with Murder”, I would have snitched on them by halfway through the first season.

However, when it comes to Lent it seems that bending the truth is a little easier. Although I’ve yet to eat chocolate and therefore have had no need to lie about its consumption, I have found it extremely challenging to devote any amount of time to the daily reading of Scripture, and I find that much easier to tell a little porky pie about when asked how that particular commitment is going.

“How’s your daily reading of the New Testament going, Luke?”

“Oh you know, it’s tough to switch my mind-set to be more open to Scripture as a method of devotion but I’m getting there.”

Bosh. Without even really having to answer the question I’ve managed to skirt around the truth of the matter, which is I’m just not doing it with any great regularity. Interestingly, if I had cheated on a healthy diet or abstaining from alcohol for a week, I’d have no qualms in admitting that.

“Gosh, I’m so weak when it comes to complex carbs. I just can’t help myself, must try harder.” *said in self-deprecating, appreciate my efforts kind of way*

Why do I feel the need to cover up my failings when it comes to embracing Scripture devotionally? And will I get to the end of this Lenten period and be able to look afresh at the teachings my faith holds so dear?

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Luke has a degree in Theology from Spurgeon’s College and is currently studying for his Masters in Biblical Studies at King’s College, part time. The rest of the time he works as a freelancer in business management and administration, attempts to journey with the Baptist Union of Great Britain on LGBT+ inclusion, is a Deacon at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, and works on projects such as Soho Gathering (@sohogathering). He is married to Steven and their wedding was the first same-sex marriage to be celebrated at Bloomsbury.

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