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Moving from self-deception

Pastor Michael Walrond Jr | 1/10/2013, 5:03 p.m.
Pastor Michael Walrond Jr.

I do not believe that anyone likes to feel as though they have been lied to or deceived. In fact, I know that the sting of dishonesty and deception are intensified when we feel as though we have been misled by a loved one.

We have a tendency to place a tremendous premium on honesty in relationships, and in some cases, honesty, or the lack thereof, becomes a litmus test for the sustainability of particular relationships. Many relationships have been wounded and damaged beyond repair because of a breach of trust or the discovery of webs of deception that prove intolerable.

As painful as the discovery of dishonesty and deceitfulness in a relationship may be, there is a deceit I believe is even more tragic: self-deception. I am convinced that the inability to be honest with ourselves about who we are can have disastrous consequences. I cannot begin to explain the torture to the soul that is incurred when individuals exhibit the inability to be honest with themselves, and yet there are many who live this tortured life.

Why is it so difficult to be honest with ourselves? There are numerous contributing factors that lead to gross self-deception, but I want to highlight a couple of factors. First, I have discovered that for some, it is difficult to be honest because there are things about ourselves that are difficult to look at and painful to admit. The pain and difficulty become unbearable partly because we begin to think that the things about ourselves that are troubling are definitive.

In other words, we look at ourselves and measure ourselves by the things about us that we do not like. When we only see what is problematic about ourselves, we have a tendency to view ourselves as a problem. Constantly viewing yourself as a problem can cause deep emotional damage that can lead to the development of coping mechanisms in order to alleviate the pain. One of those coping mechanisms is self-deception. Therefore, in order to avoid what is disconcerting, individuals create an illusion about who they are--an alternative personal narrative--so that confrontation with the truth is circumvented. This is all done in an effort to avoid the perceived problematic self.

Secondly, it may be difficult to be honest with ourselves because the things about ourselves that we do not like may have been birthed in a place of deep wounds--a place that we do not desire to revisit. There are so many of us who live with unhealed wounds--wounds that have been abrasive to our souls. In fact, I would say that many live with these open wounds because healing has been avoided, especially if healing necessitates a confrontation with and in that wounded place.

Therefore, there is an attempt to live as though the wounds are not real, and if the wounds are viewed as not real, then what the wounds birth is also perceived as not being real. This means that in order to facilitate the dishonesty about the things about ourselves that we do not like, we simply render the wounds as fraudulent. Acting as though the wounds are not real or that the damage never happened helps to alleviate the responsibility of being honest with ourselves about ourselves.

If we are going to live lives that are filled with possibility and promise, it may be that the beginning of the process is being honest about who we are. I know that there may be things about you that you do not like, but you have to resolve in your heart that those things do not define you. We all have struggles and issues, but they cannot become the lens by which we view our lives. There is much joy and peace that is waiting on the other side of your healing. Today, live boldly and begin the journey to the healed you!