The Perfect Lie
Lies can come in many forms and are told in a million different ways. But the worst ones, the most damaging ones, are like a tiny little seed planted in the far corners of our hearts by a force with the ability to ever so slowly twist truth into something unrecognizable. This lie is so dangerous because it subtly attempts to destroy the inherent value that is ours by birthright. Yours and mine. Until one day we look in the mirror and see only what the lie tells us. It whispers, it tempts, it sometimes shouts.
And the lie is this:
We are what we get.
I’m not sure if this is just a lie told here in United States and modern culture but it’s one I fell for “hook, line, and sinker” and I didn’t even know it. The lie tells us that our worth is defined or measured by what we receive in life. Be it a stable job, a warm home, deliverance from addiction, security, a community, a family…a baby. Whatever it is, when we ask for something, or work really hard, and we get it, we use it to affirm our place in the universe, a sigh-of-relief that we apparently matter. You know, the whole “I asked, I worked hard, I made it happen,” mentality we all tend to ascribe to here in our progressive culture. And while those things I listed are all good things to seek out and work for, the equation ends in a lie because what happens in the instances where those things don’t appear?
I know for me, I started to feel invisible. I started to doubt myself and compare and rank myself against others. I started to doubt God. Had I done something wrong? Was I not fit for the calling I felt was placed on my life? What do I do with that? What was my identity? Where was my value? Maybe this whole “God thing” wasn’t this personal, intimate relationship I had placed all my trust in? Or, maybe God was there, but didn’t care? After all, our culture seems to measure love by what we get out of it. And right now, it was feeling scarce in the void of wanting.
Unanswered prayers start to make you feel insignificant. As if you are just speck in all of this nothingness. When we allow the “what we get,” to bestow value, our whole system in assigning worth to ourselves and others starts to skew drastically.
THIS is why this lie is so perfect. THIS is why the lie is so dangerous.
We need benchmarks to measure because our minds absolutely cannot fathom a love that names us, and gives us inherent value based on nothing other than our Creator who spoke it into existence. We want the ability to control it, to put it at a distance because if we accept it, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING.
When we realize our value isn’t something we create, earn, or produce, we start to see the homeless person on the street as our kin and not just a pile of dirt to ignore. We begin to understand that God’s way of assigning value is not based on politics, race, gender, socioeconomic status, appearance, mental capacity, or the mistakes we’ve made. It’s also not to be solely judged or measured by the good things that come into our lives.
If we use these means to assign our value, this leaves room to belittle others, to take advantage of them. We use comparison as the basis of our hierarchy as we all try to fight our way to the top. Shoving, and pushing. Scratching, and clawing.
It allows room for the lie to tell us we.don’t.matter. And for a while, in my own messed up way, I started to believe that “what” I didn’t “get,” spoke more loudly about God’s love for me than what I already had. For me, that was a baby, but we all have our something that is inherently tied to how we want the world to see us and how we measure love.
But thankfully, the only thing that can destroy a lie is truth.
So instead, I offer you this:
We ARE because what we’ve been GIVEN. A slight change in words, but it flips the lie into the most glorious truth. And that “given” is the bestowed, intangible image in which we were created, born out of His love for all of mankind, and proven on a cross.
It can’t be measured. It can’t be contained. It frees the captives and it SHOUTS that NO ONE or NO LIE gets to rob us of what has already been ransomed. We are the Imago Dei.