Yeah, That’s the Ticket
By Jane Thornton –
Hearty hoots of laughter drew me from my bedroom lair into the living room where my husband Wes watched television. As I peeped around the door facing, I heard Jon Lovitz’ smarmy claim, “I’m married to…Morgan Fairchild…yeah, that’s the ticket…Morgan Fairchild.” I had to plop down on the couch and enjoy his SNL liar character for the hundredth time.
Sad that we find humor in deceit. Maybe because we think our lies pale in comparison to the exaggerated comedian.
Several years ago, Wes and I blithely signed up for the His Needs, Her Needs marriage seminar, thinking we would bond with some other couples and enrich our already delightful union. Both results occurred, but the enrichment came by means of some painful soul-searching—most of it on my side, but we’ll save that for another article. Wes got smacked upside the head by the chapter on lying.
Please don’t get me wrong; he is the soul of integrity, but he had to fess up to a dubious foible. One week, the husbands were to examine themselves to see if they were born liars, avoid trouble liars, or protective liars. (Please see Willard Harley’s excellent book for a complete explanation.)
I was quite proud when Wes reported back that he was none of the above. I beamed with gratification. Then he clarified. He had determined he was a lazy liar. He would give in to the temptation to fib or avoid complete openness because he just didn’t want to mess with the ensuing barrage of questions from me. Ouch.
One of my students faced an ouch lesson of his own this week. After I had called out the vocabulary words for a test, I tracked the room like the proverbial menacing shark. My gaze fell upon the hunched shoulders of a teen as his arms created a protective circle around his paper, unusual test-taking posture, suspicious, in fact. Sure enough, he had his vocabulary list tucked under the test paper. His cheating earned an unchangeable zero and a firm lecture on honesty.
I remember the temptation clearly. My senior year in high school, I finished my government test and placed it face down on the corner of my desk. The need to check a few answers itched until I pulled out my folder and scanned my notes. Frustration surged when I realized I’d made the wrong choice on a simple question. Arms folded in self-disgust, I scrunched in my chair waiting for time to be called.
My angst-filled eyes took in the fact that my teacher had not seen me check my notes. Discreetly, I flipped my paper, changed my answer, and replaced the test, no one the wiser.
Immediately His Spirit convicted me, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32b NIV). I must admit to pangs of regret as I changed my answer back to the wrong one. However, although I endured great mockery by friends who thought such honesty was extreme and foolish, I still consider that repentance a proud moment. Too bad it’s not the norm instead of the cause of pride. God is still working on me.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10 NIV).