The Truth of Dr. House
Did you ever watch the TV show House? It was a popular show that ran from 2004 to 2012. The lead character was Dr. Gregory House, MD. House was portrayed by the award-winning actor Hugh Laurie. IMBD describes the show this way: “An antisocial maverick doctor who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to solve puzzling cases that come his way using his crack team of doctors and his wits.”
I enjoyed the show and even catch it on reruns when I can.
Dr. House has a mantra he carries with him into every medical case that confronts him. It is “Everybody Lies.” House begins every diagnostic investigation with that presupposition — “Everyone lies.”
On more than one occasion he states his own modern proverb, “Truth begins in lies.”
The term lying has moral implications attached to it. Yet we all do it at some point. In fact, folks lie enough that lies can even be placed into types and categories. For example, there are lies of omission, bold-faced lies, little white lies, plagiarism, broken promises, exaggerations, and the list goes on.
Philosophers have written volumes about lies.
Some argue all lies are bad, even if their results save lives. Some argue that some types of lies are ok—that they are neither good or bad—just expedient. Like telling someone they look nice when you really hate what they have done with their hair.
Other folks say there are good lies. These are the ones that most often protect secrets, and sometimes there are good reasons to protect a secret. The secret could hurt others or ourselves or both.
The truth is we all lie, and we do indeed all have secrets. Things we keep hidden from others and even wish we could forget.
As one writer has shared, “One of the wonders of human life is that we can have deep interior lives and deep exterior lives. All the details of our lives need not be public, and we often choose what to share and what to keep quiet. Sometimes it’s social cues that tell us what is acceptable to share publicly and what is not. Sometimes it is shame. Sometimes it’s just a need to have something all your own that you don’t have to share.”
I am not going to pretend to tell you I have a clue about all of the issues that surround lying and keeping secrets. The best I can do is to tell you what I tell students I counsel in my office about lying and other forms of misbehavior. And that is that if what you do or say gives you an “uh-oh” feeling, you should not do or say it.
Sadly, though I still do things that give me an “uh-oh” feeling from time to time. And there are times I am not truthful about things. I either fail to share something I should or flat out tell a lie. Sometimes it is even a lie about stupid stuff, and I have no idea why I wasn’t forthcoming.
However, for me the lies I have the most trouble trying to figure out are the ones where I lie to God (even though my head reminds me that God already knows the truth.)
I think these are the lies that hurt God the most because God has made it clear that our Lord’s deepest desire is to be in relationship with each of us.
God created us and called it very good and it devastates God when we choose to turn away from that relationship.
However, God refuses to turn away from us. God even sent God’s own son to show us how much God loves us.
Friends, there is no secret that God can’t handle. In fact, as believers, one of our greatest joys should be the knowledge that God is always available for us. That means we can always be honest with God. God can handle our doubts and fears, our struggles and disappointments, our anger, our messes, and our mistakes. God wants to walk with us in good times and bad. God is willing to help carry those burdens that weigh down our hearts and spirits and even at times our physical bodies.
In fact, not only is God available but God wants to take on those difficulties because of God’s great love for us. As the writer of Matthew shares in the 11th chapter of his Gospel.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Dr. Gregory House is right; everybody lies sometimes. The good news is that we don’t have to lie to God because God desires to have a relationship with us in spite of all of our shortcomings.
But even when we do hide from God, God loves us still. As the Brief Statement of Faith says so beautifully -
Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.
Because as those who know the good news found in Christ, we are assured that
In life and in death we belong to God.
Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.
And we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.