Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
All of a sudden the world has been swept up in Alternative Facts Fever. From the nightly news to social media sites, people are going on and on about alternative facts. Sometimes it’s seen in a snarky, but light-hearted, way like a photo caption of “alternative carrots” for a bag of Cheetos. Other times the discussion becomes somber and serious as we try to wade through the broken world we live in.
I bring up alternative facts not to set off a political firestorm or start a heated debate about the direction of our country. For a moment, forget about everybody else. Don’t think about all that is happening in the world. Instead, look inward and examine your own individual heart.
Contrary to what many believe, alternative facts didn’t start when a certain someone began their residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The twisting of truth has been around since the dawn of humanity. You do it. I’m certainly guilty of it. We all at one time or another have crafted our own narrative to explain away our circumstances, escape reality or justify our choices:
“If my wife respected me, I wouldn’t be tempted to turn my attention somewhere else.”
“I don’t have to say it or show it. My kids know that I love them.”
“It’s not hurting anybody else so what I’m doing is no big deal.”
“I can stop anytime I want.”
“No one knows or understands my struggles so it’s safer to keep it to myself.”
“Their life is picture perfect. Why doesn’t anything bad happen to them?”
“They made me angry. I had no choice but to react.”
A danger arises when we tell ourselves these tales. If we keep repeating these lies long enough, eventually we will begin to view them as truth. We become so wrapped up in these virtual realities that we avoid coming face-to-face with the true state of our heart. This in turn keeps us double-minded and prevents us from walking in integrity.
Integrity doesn’t reside in alternative facts. It requires honesty, transparency and vulnerability. There is no alternative route that paves the way to integrity. Integrity only comes when we are willing to be honest with ourselves, those around us and even God himself.
- What alternative facts are you creating in your own life? How are they clouding your judgment and distorting your perspective?
- In what ways are these “facts” preventing you from walking in integrity?
God, I’m reluctant to truly examine my own heart. It’s easier to lie to myself than to come to terms with what lies beneath. But, keeping up this charade of alternative facts is exhausting. Today, give me the courage to look inward and to know that I will be met with Your grace. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.