“And where would you like me to go with my five children? Under a bridge?” This single father was answering his attorney. The father was in default for rent payments and had not left the premises of his apartment, so his landlord was suing with an eviction notice. “You have until the end of the month to find a place,” said the attorney.
“You have to leave the premises. The problem is that you signed the rental agreement with a false identity. You lied to get into those low housing rentals. You must promise the judge you will leave before the end of the month, yes or no?” continued the attorney.
“That’s totally unfair,” he retorted. “The children’s school is nearby, and the lady who takes care of them when I work is just down the street. I now have my own ID. I’ll even pay more rent than he’s asking! Let the judge know, please.”
“Then let’s go before the judge, and she’ll decide,” responded the attorney.
But the judge would not hear all the arguments. “The law is clear. You must vacate the premises immediately. You had until the end of the month, now you must leave in three days!” ruled the judge.
The man left with his chin on his chest. As his court translator, I walked out with him to offer at least sympathy and comfort.
“So you really have nowhere to go?” I asked. “No,” he affirmed. “I’m totally alone in this country.” “And what about the children’s mother?” I inquired. “She abandoned us over a year ago. I’m totally alone, no one to turn to,” he said.
What is better: to have company in a life of lies, or to be alone in a life of truth?
We were in the hallway. Just then, the ladies’ bathroom opened and out walked a well-dressed, elegant-looking woman about the man’s age, who did not hesitate to kiss him tenderly on the lips. “So, how did it go, my love? Are you ok?” she asked. He completely ignored me as he took her hand. As they walked out of the courthouse, she then tucked her arm under his. I was left speechless.
Who has not exaggerated his achievements just a tad over the truth? Or what about that pretext we gave when we got to work late? Sometimes even with a look, a gesture, or even our silence, we distort the truth for our convenience. Only of Jesus Christ has it been truly said, “there was no guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). Only of him does Scripture state that he was “holy, innocent, pure, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26). He gave witness to his integrity, saying, “I am the truth and the life” (John 14:6), meaning that his life and truth are one and the same thing. Yet he did not come to make a show of his integrity but instead to give it away.
To whoever thinks he or she is the greatest liar in the world, he says, “I will substitute your lie and your evil with my truth and my life.” Otherwise, your lies will reveal who you truly are on the day of judgment. On the cross, Jesus took upon himself all the lies of all the liars (that means every human being) throughout the history of humanity. In other words, he took on himself – who is the truth – the tyranny of falsehood. There on the cross, the one whose integrity alone was faultless, became the worst of all liars so that they would be considered full of honesty and truth. That includes you and me. But the truth still prevailed, as proven by his resurrection.
In the story of our homeless liar, his lies were uncovered by the affections of the woman in the hallway. It was evident he lied to the judge. Was she also complicit in his lies? It wasn’t clear. But he certainly was not alone. So, what is better: to have company in a life of lies, or to be alone in a life of truth?
But Jesus does not meet us in our “life of truth.” He meets us in our life of lies, in our falsehoods, in the untruth of our being, and in the company, we create to cover up our nakedness. He meets us as a comforter and not as a Moses along our slippery paths and whispers where no one else can whisper, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And in the lonely hallways of life, he surprises us with the kiss of grace.