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 shoot, 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.
Scripture: Psalm 46, Romans 3:9–24
- Do you have a similar story to the one told here?
- How did it make you feel when people lied to you?
- What did you do in response?
- Do you think you would choose to respond differently now? What’s changed?
- Maybe you don’t like the idea of forgiving those people. How do you think God wants you to respond? Why?
- If you tried a different or new way of reacting to everybody who lies to you, do you think if would hurt you? Do you think it would help you? How and why?
Continue interacting with this topic here.
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.