"When does a lie begin?
A lie, Rabbi Fajner would say, has no beginning. A lie runs downwards like a rootlet, branching an infinite number of times. But if you trace the rootlets down, you never find a moment of inspiration and vision, only overwhelming desperation and despair.
A lie always begins with denial.
Something has happened - yet you do not want to admit that it has.
That is how a lie begins."
From The Emperor of lies: A Novel
How true! and as we all know, how destructive. There is something pure and liberating and freeing in the truth while lies begin in desperation and despair and lead to great pain. No wonder truthfulness is part of God's character (and fullness of life) while lies are part of Satan's character and the diminishing of life (John 10:10). As Rabbi Fajner said, "If you trace the rootlets down, you never find a moment of inspiration and vision, only overwhelming desperation and despair.
Lies are sinful remnants of our lower nature that can be traced back to the "father of lies." They are destructive because they not only start us on a trial of lies (one lie births another and another and another by necessity) but in their telling we lose something precious in us (integrity which is based in truth) and when exposed something precious with others (trust which is based in truth). Our own inner cohesiveness, health and personal integrity are based on truth which is why those who live with lies live with inner turmoil and fractured hearts. Why do lies make us feel soiled? Because they are so antithetical to the character of God and they violate the dim reflection we still have of being made in his image.
A reading of Proverbs highlights how central truth is to the character of God. The more truth we speak to ourselves about who we are, what motives drive us, where our sinful tendencies lie and where our lives need reformation, the more like God we become. Speaking truth to ourselves is the precursor to speaking truth to others and those who lie to others have first lied to themselves. Where do lies start? They start in the heart by lying to ourselves.
Lies never start well because they start in the heart and they never end well because when our heart is revealed our integrity is gone. Even hidden they cause inner destruction because lying to ourselves and others erodes our inner lives. We know we have violated truth and nurturing that violation eats away at our soul. Truth wins in every way. Truth telling to ourselves and others brings us closer to God the father of truth. Telling lies to ourselves or others separates us from the father of truth and mirrors the father of lies.