The tendency to be selfish is easier for some than it is for others.
I had a friend who began working at the same place I had. We didn’t really have anything in common, but we did share the faith in Christ. I suppose that was the beginning of our short time of friendship and fellowship. It was also a great opportunity to share Christ in us. Interesting conversations about the Bible would be discussed between the tasks of our positions at work. We had the opportunity to talk about the many different ways His Word would apply to our personal lives, as well as the life we were beginning to share as friends.
I had the opportunity to venture out on a job-related run with him one morning. There was a series of events that transpired that morning which soon had me questioning my friend’s trustworthiness. We were interacting with a woman, an elderly woman, who wanted to see a product that she had purchased while it was still on the back of my co-worker’s delivery truck. My friend thought, without really thinking it through, that it would be okay to lift the woman up using a lift gate on the back of the truck. A lift gate is a large platform on the rear of the truck that hydraulically moves up and down in order for materials to be transported from the truck bed to the ground, or vise versa. My friend asked her to step onto the lift gate, and he then began lifting her up. The woman began to wobble and nearly fell off of the lift gate. We both ran from our positions on the sides of the gate in order to catch her fall, but luckily she was able to brace herself.
We left the customer’s home and were glad to see that the woman had not been injured.
We had returned back to our place of employment. It didn’t take long for the guy’s supervisor to reach him, asking if he had in fact raised the woman up on the lift gate. Apparently, either the customer or someone at her house had called our employer complaining about the driver’s negligence. Looking back, I’ve thought that perhaps I could have stopped his action, but I didn’t. He was doing it before I really had time to react. So, the supervisor was now in my friend’s face, questioning him.
“No, I did not.” That was the answer that he had given when asked if he had lifted her up. I quickly spoke up and said that he certainly had. I was not about to let him do that! The questioning of credibility for my friend really began at that point, and it didn’t end there.
I gave my friend another chance. He had later told the supervisor that he had lied, and that he was sorry. I thought to myself that everyone has lied in their life, and giving second chances is something that we must do. As time went on, my friend and I became closer. We shared many good times together. My family and I even attended a church he had recommended. His family and mine would have dinner together, visit from time to time and talk about the life through Christ. We had a good time while doing it all.
Over a period of time, he was starting to have a lot more problems at work. His little white lies became pretty evident to everyone, and a few major ones had everyone scratching their heads. He just wasn’t honest. One lie can cause people to question your words, and that is exactly what the lift gate incident did. When looking at all of these building and ongoing lies on top of it, I was really getting fed up with him.
I cannot remember the exact conversation, but after yet another lie that he had told I had pulled him aside one day, reluctantly trying to convey my frustration. I vaguely remember saying something along the lines of, “lying ruined my trust in you,” and I was calling him out on his lying with the hope of him seeing the damage it causes. I had explained to him how I was once a constant liar. It was nothing for me to lie my way through anything. I had best friends who lied to me, as well as family, and all of those lies only led to bad situations. I had very little tolerance for lies because of the past and lessons learned.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to cover my a#%!” That was the response I had gotten from him. That told me that he would do whatever it took to keep him out of trouble. He would lie if it was convenient. It quickly made me realize that he had probably always been a liar, is a liar and had no intention of stopping. He was looking out for number one. He was okay with the consequences of being dishonest.
There are a number of ways that lies have ruined my reputation with others, and there are so many ways the lies of others have ruined their reputation with me. Sadly, I don’t speak to the old friend much anymore. If I see him in public, I say hi. Unfortunately, I’ll never pursue anything outside of friendly small talk with him.
Jesus told us to forgive, always. Seventy times seven means to forgive each time you are wronged. It means forgiving offenses to completion even if that means a daily, or even hourly, decision to let the debt go. I find this very hard to do when I am being used. When people are not only dishonest with others, but dishonest with themselves by justifying their untruths. The bad habits of lying, coming from me and being received from others, has really buried a knife in my heart. Those little ways of being dishonest have caused so much pain.
I find it so easy to forgive when people are actually sorry for a lie. When people come clean. When they don’t continue, purposely and maliciously, to carry on within their devious way. Forgiveness is easy when the person sees the harm it has caused. It is sad to see that my former friend is now just what I consider to be an acquaintance because of his determination to disregard everyone else. As he continues to cover his rear, I’ll continue to pray that he someday learns to stop. I’ll continue to pray that I have a heart that is more like the Lord’s, where the scars of the past have no predisposed control over it. It’s hard to have hurt, and to have been hurt with so many with lies, and not remember the resulting damages of those falsehoods. Although, in my mind, lying is not something we do to those we claim to love, and lies are not something we should tolerate over and over. For me, lies are one of the hardest things to deal with. They have done nothing but take away all that is good within myself and from those I care about.