We often do things to save ourselves. We lie, we deceive and manipulate others and situations, all to protect our reputation. Of course, we know that when we act in this way we are being dishonest, but the alternative seems uncomfortable at best and impossible at worst. Although we know that lies follow us around like a bad penny, we get trapped in our pride and embarrassment. Literature is full of stories that grow from a simple dishonesty into a terrible tragedy.
Is anyone in literature a more heinous liar than Iago in Shakespeare's Othello? While clever and insightful, Iago schemes, deceives, and manipulates others for his own gain. Eventually his lies result not only in Desdemona and Othello's death, but his own. Lies kill our spirits by diminishing both the liar and anyone who welcomes the liar's deceit for his or her own gain.
In today's gospel Jesus not only warns his disciples that he will be killed for telling the truth, he teaches them that wealth and power are unworthy goals for the believer. The only way to gain life, he insists, is to lose it, to let go, to put aside the mask of invincibility and put on the clothes of compassion and justice. Lent is about facing the lies we tell ourselves and examining the lies our culture promotes.
Today ask for the courage to face the truth about yourself.
What are the biggest lies our culture teaches us?