Archive for August, 2013


Who’s fooling who?

Two men. Two VERY different stories… and yet stories with some interesting similarities. Both men are New Yorkers. Both are very high profile individuals. And both now appear to have exercised incredibly poor judgment.

            And as much as I am loath to say it, there may be some uncomfortable ways in which you and I share an important, and ruinous human characteristic with them.

            The two Gotham-dwellers I am referring to are – of course – Anthony Weiner and Alex Rodriguez. Their exploits have been very well-documented over the past several weeks so I probably don’t have to go into a lot of detail. Weiner has been dogged by reports of rampant, inappropriate sexual behavior and Rodriguez – All-Star third baseman of the New York Yankees (and baseball’s highest paid player) – is on the verge of a possible lifetime ban for (allegedly) using Performance Enhancing Drugs. As if we needed any MORE reasons to hate the Yankees!

            I honestly don’t think any of the fine, upstanding people who read this blog post are capable of either of these examples of boorish behavior. I sure hope not anyway. But it was what these two men did AFTERWARD, once their misdeeds came to light, that provides us with something of an uncomfortable window into our own souls.

            What I am referring to is the human capacity for self-deception.

            After Weiner was conclusively caught “sexting,” he launched a massive (and totally fallacious) investigation to find out who “hacked” his personal email account and sent out these dastardly photos. And now, two years after the original scandal, he is back, running for Mayor of New York. And right in the middle of his campaign we find out that he did not really ever stop doing what he is accused of doing. Unbelievable!

            And although the charges have yet to be announced, it appears that A-Rod will be shown to be one of the most prolific dopers in all of Major League Baseball. But that did not stop him from issuing a statement this week saying that he still considers himself, “… a role model for my children.”

            We shake our heads and say things like, “How can they do that? How can they look at themselves in the mirror, knowing what they did, and then turn around and LIE to the world and to themselves? Are they completely lacking a moral compass? Do they really believe the blatant pig-slop they are trying to sell us?”

            But before we let our outrage get outrageous, let’s each of us take our own look in the mirror, shall we? Let me ask you…

  • Have you ever received a piece of constructive criticism and just brushed it aside saying, “They obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.”? I certainly have.
  • Have you ever KNOWN you needed to stop gobbling those tasty potato chips and just kept right on stuffing your face? Yep. Me too.
  • Have you ever dramatically exceeded the speed limit, but justified it by telling yourself that it is REALLY, REALLY important to get where you are going on time? Guilty as charged.

Each of these is an example of self-deception at work. Sure, they don’t rise to the level of notoriety or sheer outrageousness of Messrs. Weiner and Rodriguez. But they give evidence that there is exactly the same kind of malfunction at work in our hearts and souls that we see in theirs.

Sometimes… well, often, actually… I find that facing the truth about myself is painful. I do not at all relish the opportunity to candidly admit that I have made a mistake. Or that I have gluttonous tendencies. Or that I take foolish and unnecessary risks while driving. Or… or… or…. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Truth, like roses, comes with thorns.”

Because facing those truths means I must also face the fact that I need to change. And change is hard. For any of us.

Jesus said it this way: “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32, NRSV). His brother James added his two cents on the subject and said, “But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” (James 1:22, NRSV).

You notice neither of them said anything that sounded even remotely like, “Hey, facing the truth is a piece of cake! Just do it! No problem!” They just said it is necessary, life-giving, and liberating. Today let us each face the mirror unafraid and remember what Paul said – “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters.” (Galatians 5:13, NRSV). 


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