Being lied to can be one of the most painful things you experience in life. It opens you up to thinking and feeling so many things – particularly if you find out many people have lied to you. It is a betrayal and you may feel stupid or naïve. You may think how blind you were and how foolish! Perhaps it makes you angry, even enraged, at how disrespectful and manipulative others have been. More than likely being lied to makes you feel alone, unsupported, and completely vulnerable.
That’s because existing in truth stabilizes our lives, and the realization that we have been lied to throws everything out of balance. When we discover the deceit of others, it opens us up to a whirlwind of emotions, the center of which is doubt. Experiencing doubt is like putting on those tinted/colored glasses. It makes us look at everything differently, whether deserved or not. Keep reading if you want to know more about how to handle your response when discovering that others have lied to you.
My family and I PCSed right after my freshmen year of high school. I was actually kind of glad it happened then, because I had a good chance of being at the same school through my graduation. When I started my sophomore year, I joined the soccer team and Future Business Leaders of America (since I had already done both of those in the past.) Then in the spring I tried out for the play. I met a lot of people through those activities and classes too. One group in particular was my favorite.
There were three girls and two guys who I liked to eat lunch with and hang out with at youth group. They seemed nice and always acted excited that I was gonna chill with them. I would see them a lot around base at the bowling alley, PX, or just walking around, and we would hang out. Sometimes I would text them, and we would meet up, but it usually happened more spontaneously.
On Mondays I would sometimes feel awkward because they were going on and on about whatever they did over the weekend and how crazy or funny or stupid something was, and I couldn’t really join in. I hung out with other people too but I really liked these five and thought we had started to become pretty good friends.
One day I was looking for them at lunch and when I couldn’t find them I started asking a few people if they’d seen them around. Some people laughed and others just acted like they hadn’t heard me. It was weird. But I just decided to go up to my locker and finish my homework before class.
When I reached the top of the stairs I heard these people laughing and then someone shouting “Oh s#*t, go, go GO!” then a group of people ran down the hallway away from my locker laughing the whole time. I didn’t know what was going on but when I got to my locker I found out. There was a flyer, in fact there were flyers all over the school, with a picture of me making a stupid face and underneath a twitter account. I looked it up and this had been going on for months!
They would take pictures of me in awkward poses or post something dumb or out of context that I said. They made me sound stupid and they kept saying things like how annoying I was or how I must have been dropped on my head a lot as a baby. And, to make it worse, they had over 300 followers! Mostly kids I went to school with and even some who I knew through soccer and thought were my friends.
This had been going on for over 5 months, and no one had told me. They had all just laughed at me behind my back. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like everything at school was a lie. It felt like I had just had the longest and worst nightmare of my life.
I really didn’t know what to think most of the time because it seemed like everyone and everything I knew was not true. I just sort of walked around in a haze after that. I didn’t engage with anyone. I barely showed up at school. It felt unreal. I would go from hating myself to hating everyone else and then I would hate God, and round and round and round.
Finally one of the youth leaders I knew came by my house and talked with me. She had found out from some of the kids what had happened to me and why I wasn’t around much anymore. When she visited me I was embarrassed. I felt like I was so weak and should have just laughed it off and kept going with life. That’s where they surprised me. My youth leader sat down and listened to my side of the story. She said how sorry they were that I had experienced this and then and asked me the craziest question. She asked me if I had thought about how this might be an opportunity to share God’s message of love and forgiveness.
That made me so angry at first! I almost told her to leave, but she just asked me to think about it and read some Scripture she gave me. I did, and after a week we met again and talked. I felt better and calmer, and I was actually a little excited. It didn’t happen all at once and things were definitely NOT amazing and wonderful. But I ended up talking privately with each of those five kids who trashed me all year. I told them how it had made me feel, and, also, that I forgave them.
My senior year I got the opportunity to speak at an anti-bullying assembly and I started a blog about social media and God’s love that grew to over 1,000 followers! It’s not easy to think about what happened to me, and it is still really painful sometimes; but my youth leader’s challenge to use even my great pain and disillusionment for God’s purpose really brought things into perspective for me. I found out how fully the Lord restores our hearts when we allow him to, and how we never know what amazing opportunities we might get in the future because of something painful in life right now.
Here are two of the Scriptures my youth leader gave me. Together they helped me remember how powerful and loving and present God is, not just during hard times but throughout our lives. It shows how valuable we are to him! The passage from Romans also demonstrates how Jesus sacrificed in order to save us and that we didn’t deserve it at all. On top of that, just as we sin and screw up all the time, so do others. So we need to have grace and forgiveness for them. More than that, as followers of Christ we are commanded to emulate (copy) his actions. That means we need to be compassionate and have a sacrificial love for anyone who screws up and sins. I wonder if this helps you, like it helped me, to see how we have an opportunity to live for God’s purpose, even when everybody lies to us.
Father God, the pain and anger and embarrassment I am feeling right now is almost unbearable. I can’t believe they did that to me. I can’t believe they could be so cruel, so heartless. So why do I feel like the idiot? I didn’t do anything wrong! Why do I feel like the fool? Please help me God. I feel so alone and just completely lost and confused. I want to forgive and move on with my life but I also want them to hurt as much as I do right now. Show me how to be like you, Jesus. Help me trust you and follow you rather than my own sinful heart. I believe that you are greater than this situation, and if I just trust you, everything will work for your glory. I put all of this in your hands. Amen.
early 13c., "to dread, fear," from Old French doter "doubt, be doubtful; be afraid," from Latin dubitare "to doubt, question, hesitate, waver in opinion" (related to dubius "uncertain;" see dubious), originally "to have to choose between two things."
The sense of "fear" developed in Old French and was passed on to English. Meaning "to be uncertain" is attested in English from c.1300. The -b- was restored 14c. by scribes in imitation of Latin. Replaced Old English tweogan (noun twynung), from tweon "two," on notion of "of two minds" or the choice of two implied in Latin dubitare (cf. German Zweifel "doubt," from zwei "two").
It’s interesting how the word doubt comes from "being of two minds." That’s exactly what we as Christians often struggle with. We have our earthly minds that are selfish, sinful, and short sighted and then there is the heavenly mind we are given when we commit to following Christ. It shows us the bigger picture and how we get to play a part in the work that God is doing to bring his heavenly kingdom down to earth. That mind is holy and full of grace, forgiveness, and love. So when you feel doubtful, your two minds are actually warring against one another and I hope you realize that making the choice to respond with the redeemed heavenly one is what is going to bring about peace and restoration rather than a moment of revenge that you might only enjoy temporarily. Pretty amazing!
This Scripture can be very useful during times of doubt. When you are not sure what to do and are feeling overcome with the advice from the world to get even and inflict pain for pain, focus on what this verse tells you to do – particularly the part about drowning out the doubt and vengeance in your head with things that are good and deserve praise (verse 8) It might be a good idea to memorize this! Or at least try putting it somewhere you will see often and make sure to read it daily.
This isn’t an actual quiz but it is a good list of behaviors to go over if you have some suspicions about your friend’s honesty. The goal is never to be a person who walks around searching for betrayal and lying – that sort of life can be really exhausting and detrimental – but it is wise to educate yourself on common signs of deception, how to respond (Scripture has a lot of good advice!), and continue to develop resilience in your life. So take a look at this article from Parade and also read through 1 Samuel chapter 24 to see one of the times David had to handle King Saul lying to him and how he chose to follow God’s desires rather than the standards of the world.
James 1:2-3, 1:12
Here is a scene from Braveheart. It is just after Robert the Bruce has betrayed William Wallace (and his country) to the British. Realizing what he has done, he confronts his father who has repeatedly lied and manipulated him.
This video is from the movie Emperor’s Club when a teacher realizes a student who cheated as a boy is still living a life of deceit as a man. He takes a moment to collect himself, but when he winds up alone with his student, he decides to calmly speak truth into his life. This sort of interaction may very well be what God is asking you to do with your friend who lied to you. This video may be a good starting place for that, but be sure to spend lots of time praying and preparing so that if the opportunity arises, you can speak God’s love and truth into their lives.
Read through this story in Genesis 29 and pay attention to who is lied to or about. Also notice how what the Lord does for each person. Consider why he chose to do those things and how the people involved were working with or against God’s purpose. It may make your understanding richer if you know that the ten sons of Leah and the two sons Rachel was eventually blessed with became the origins of the twelve tribes making up the nation of Israel. Never forget that God continues to work his purpose despite all of the lies, doubt, and betrayal that happens in the world.
Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home
Jacob continued on his way and went toward the land of the East. Suddenly he came upon a well out in the fields with three flocks of sheep lying around it. The flocks were watered from this well, which had a large stone over the opening. Whenever all the flocks came together there, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water them. Then they would put the stone back in place.
Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?”
“From Haran,” they answered.
He asked, “Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?”
“Yes, we do,” they answered.
“Is he well?” he asked.
“He is well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.”
Jacob said, “Since it is still broad daylight and not yet time to bring the flocks in, why don't you water them and take them back to pasture?”
They answered, “We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone has been rolled back; then we will water the flocks.”
While Jacob was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with the flock. When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep. Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy. He told her, “I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca.”
She ran to tell her father; and when he heard the news about his nephew Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him into the house. When Jacob told Laban everything that had happened, Laban said, “Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood.” Jacob stayed there a whole month.
Jacob Serves Laban for Rachel and Leah
Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?” Laban had two daughters; the older was named Leah, and the younger Rachel. Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel.”
Laban answered, “I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me.” Jacob worked seven years so that he could have Rachel, and the time seemed like only a few days to him, because he loved her.
Then Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up; let me marry your daughter.” So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone. But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her. ( Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) Not until the next morning did Jacob discover that it was Leah. He went to Laban and said, “Why did you do this to me? I worked to get Rachel. Why have you tricked me?”
Laban answered, “It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older. Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years.”
Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. ( Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.
The Children Born to Jacob
When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “The Lord has seen my trouble, and now my husband will love me”; so she named him Reuben. She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “The Lord has given me this son also, because he heard that I was not loved”; so she named him Simeon. Once again she became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She said, “Now my husband will be bound more tightly to me, because I have borne him three sons”; so she named him Levi. Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord”; so she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children.
Here is a clip from the Jimmy Kimmel show where parents all over lie and tell their kids that they ate all of their Halloween candy. The reactions are various and hilarious.