This morning on NPR I heard Shankar Vedantam (which is an awesome name) pose a frightening question. He wondered aloud "if one wants to be lied to, does it actually constitute a lie?" Hmm.
This was in reference to an even more frightening reality--the use of "vanity sizing" in the American clothing industry. Apparently, what was a size 8 in 1950 is currently a size 0. Yikes! Vedantam (author of Hidden Brain) explains some of the psychology behind the marketing and it basically boils down to this:
We prefer to be lied to!!! (You can check out the article here)
Got me thinking about places I don't want to hear the truth and I remembered a vivid moment between Jesus and me. It was during a time when I felt particularly fragile-emotionally and spiritually. A wise person posed this question to me. "What do you think Jesus is saying to you right now?"
For years, when I asked that question of Jesus, I could hear him say, "I love you". But on this particular day I heard "Get behind me Satan". That didn't seem right. In fact, it was downright harsh. I wanted to run away, but I was frozen. Had I really heard this? Would Jesus really say this? (Play along with me here--this all happened really fast!).
As I began to breath in and out again, I found myself face to face with reality. Jesus loves me, to be sure, but he's not just a supernatural cheerleader or motivational speaker. Sometimes his glance is lovingly piercing as he illuminates previously unexposed areas of selfishness and other sin. He promised as much--
12 For (A)the word of God is living and (B)active, (C)sharper than any (D)two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and (E)discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
What's interesting to me about the vanity sizing debate is that this lie has direct health consequences. (And, yes, a lie is a lie even if we prefer it). Researchers are finding that, although pretending our clothes are a smaller size helps the retail industry, it keeps us from taking life saving action. (If I'm still a size 8, why change my eating habits?) What a powerful spiritual analogy!
Thankfully our God is motivated by love--not money or market share--so he's free to tell us the truth about ourselves! For it's only in reality that I can bask in forgiveness and grace and his strength and transformation.
May I never settle for anything less than the truth!
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuschia_foot/2782402285/">Fuschia Foot</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
Book Kelli for your next event or retreat.
Find Out More >>