I hate liars. Ask any one of my children and they will tell you that to me this is one of the greatest sins you can commit. It doesn’t matter if it is a small lie or a big one, lying shows that you don’t have any respect for me. If you are willing to lie to me you are probably willing to do a whole host of other things that are not honorable or good. Lying destroys trust.
Our society lies to us all the time. It tells us that we need this or that to be happy; it tells us to focus on our own needs and ignore the needs of others; it tells us that faith doesn’t matter. Our society pushes on us the belief that if we simply have “stuff” we will be happy; if we can have enough money our problems will go away. It tells us that what we want is all that matters. Our society doesn’t respect us… it lies to us and has taught us to lie to ourselves.
One of the biggest lies we believe is that holiness is not possible or is not for us. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Chapter 36: The Biggest Lie
At my Lenten study group last night (where we are studying Matthew Kelly’s Resisting Happiness) we talked about holiness. One of the questions we were asked was “Has a friend ever encouraged you to be a better version of yourself?” I thought that the question really tied into this chapter. The people we surround ourselves with should always help us become the best versions of ourselves. But sometimes those friends have also bought into the lie that society heaps upon our shoulders (that holiness isn’t possible) and so they can sometimes become distracters or critics of us as we strive for holiness. It’s a difficult spot to be in. While I have been blessed with friends who do encourage me to become the best version of myself, I have also been faced with friends who don’t.
Last year as I read this book (Rediscover Jesus) I filled the margins with notes. As I have reread it this year to share with you, I have been thankful for the notes I scribbled. One of the prevailing themes through my notes is that I want to be holy. I desire this more than anything. I want my life to be lived for and in Christ. But there was also a theme of distraction and questions regarding what to do when society, my friends, or my family simply either can’t understand my desire or try to prevent it from happening.
I have written several times in the past about desiring a holy life and one day becoming a saint (which you can read one of those articles here). It’s a hard journey to be on. It is completely counter-cultural and along the way there are many roadblocks and setbacks. Most people think it’s just too hard. But we are all called to sainthood and we are all called to holiness. If it were not possible, God would not ask it of us. But he does… Christ says, “be perfect as your Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). While this verse is referring to God’s perfect love for everyone and our call to love perfectly as he does (love our enemies as ourselves), we have to know that to be able to love in this way we must become holy as our Father is holy.
Point to Ponder: You cannot get closer to God if you accept the lies of the world.
If we want to become holy and we want to grow closer to God we simply must turn our backs on the lies that the world hoists upon us. The world tells us that mediocrity is just fine. It tells us that we don’t need God and that we only need ourselves. It says that in the end our desires are all that matter. If we believe these lies we will never become the best versions of ourselves, we will never grow closer to God, and we will never become the holy people that God desires us to be.
Verse to Live: “The righteous hate what is false.” Proverbs 13:5
If we wish to be righteous in the eyes of God we have to hate all that is false. This includes the belief that we can’t be holy. There is a false idea that “all paths lead to God”. Only the holy path leads to God. It is a difficult path to walk but if we wish to rest with the Father it is the path we must take. God doesn’t want mediocrity. We only have to look at the cross to see how he modeled for us a perfect love. No, he wants us to desire and strive for truth, goodness, and holiness.
Question to Consider: When did you stop believing holiness was possible for you?
I have never stopped thinking that holiness is possible for me. I have had many people who have stood in my way of holiness- who have judged me as “holier than thou” and who think I am out of my mind for wanting to be a saint one day. I have had people who tell me that entrusting my entire life to God is a mistake and is in a way selfish. I have had people separate themselves from me because my life is taking a different path than theirs and it makes them uncomfortable. Holiness is possible but it is much harder when there is little support for your efforts.
No, I know holiness is possible but I think that there are many ways that I fail at holiness each day. I get up each morning with a positive outlook on what I will do differently only to face a struggle and then do something that is way less than holy. The good news is that we simply have to ask for forgiveness (a part of holiness!) and then pick ourselves up and try again.
I think that most people think that holiness means you never do anything wrong. That’s far from the truth. Holiness means that you continually try to unite your will with God’s, do what he calls you to do, and you live your life for him and when you fail you ask for forgiveness and start over. We can all do this. We can all be holy.
Your Turn: Do you believe that you can be holy? What stops you from trying? If you are trying to live a holy life, what is most difficult about this? How will your life change if you try to live a holy life?
Prayer: Jesus, protect me from all the lies that seek to build a barrier between you and me, and remind me of my great destiny.
Help me to understand that you call me to holiness. Help me to live out my baptismal promises and to grow closer to you through actively giving my life over to you. Amen.