There were many times when I told myself a lie and believed it, or at the least acted as if it were true. I didn’t like that about myself, so I made a checklist to help me stop lying to myself and help me stop believing my own lies. I would go through the list and check any that applied in the moment. It took decades to stop doing these things. Giving myself feedback on my own behavior eventually freed me from a double problem – dishonesty and approval of it.
- I deny responsibility when I am at least partly at fault.
- I paint a bright picture to keep others from knowing the truth.
- I say I wish I could help, but don’t, even when I could.
- I exaggerate my problems to get more sympathy.
- I procrastinate on things but tell myself I don’t have time for them.
- I do things I know I shouldn’t, then I justify myself.
- I say I am being objective when I know I am biased.
- I spend money on my image and status that I can’t really afford.
- I skip church/work because I am ‘not feeling too good’.
- I avoid volunteering because… (I would fill in the blank on the spot).
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). That meant I could have freedom from my self – from being the villain and the victim rolled up in one package. To be both a liar and gullible enough to believe it…well that was about as low as I could go. I had to look in the mirror – all the time. What about the last two bullet points? When I eventually stopped checking those two, I was free to be faithful to the Church no matter what. That included volunteering for the Knights of Columbus. It was no place for the gullible but there was room for one more guy who was set free by knowing the truth.