The Power of a Lie
December 21, 2007 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

Today the jury began deliberations to determine the fate of 53-year-old John White.  John White admits to shooting Daniel Cicciaro, a 17 year-old neighbor and friend of his son, Aaron.

 How could such a tragedy happen? A lie was told. A lie was believed, and pain, suffering and death followed.

Here’s what happened: Michael Longo, a friend of John White’s son, Aaron, logged onto Aaron White’s My Space account and sent a message threatening to rape a teenage girl who was a close friend of Daniel Cicciaro. Michael Longo said, under testimony, that he did this as a practical joke. But Daniel Cicciaro believed the threat to be real, so he gathered three other friends to deal with the situation. He called Aaron White repeatedly one evening, threatening him and calling him racist names. He said they were coming over to kill him. Aaron woke his father, and as the four men approached the house, Aaron and John, carrying guns, went out on the porch where they argued with the four men culminating in John White shooting Daniel Cicciaro in the face.  

Daniel Cicciaro believed he was protecting his close friend from being raped. John White believed he was protecting his son from being killed. And now Daniel is dead and John’s future is in the hands of a jury. Why? Why did this tragedy happen? A lie was told, a lie was believed, and no one stopped to implement God’s methods. No one acted in love, no one sought the truth, no one was willing to sacrifice self for the other, but instead each chose to follow the methods of the world – the method of power to crush the other and protect self-interest. 

This sad story reveals all too clearly the war raging on this planet between God’s methods of love and Satan’s methods of survival-of-the-fittest. But this heartbreaking story does even more, it reveals how and why the entire problem of sin and suffering got started in the first place. It shows the power of a lie believed.

God created everything in the universe to operate on love, unmitigated giving, beneficence and regard for others more than oneself. God created all beings to be in unity and harmony. But this unity, harmony and love was broken. How? A lie was told. A lie was believed and pain, suffering and death followed.

Imagine you are married and someone tells you a lie that your spouse is having an affair. If you believe the lie, will something in you change? Will the circle of love and trust get broken? Will the broken love and trust lead to a change in behavior?

This is what happened in Eden. Satan told lies about God. Adam and Eve believed those lies and the circle of love and trust was broken.  Broken love and trust result in fear and selfishness (also known as survival-of-the-fittest).  Fear and selfishness result in acts of sin (destructive behaviors).  Acts of sin result in damage to mind, character and body – a terminal condition.

Daniel Cicciaro believed a lie that Aaron White was going to rape his friend. This lie broke the circle of love and trust shared by these neighbors and friends. Once the circle of love and trust was broken, fear and selfishness arose. Daniel, because he believed the lie, no longer trusted Aaron and, in fact, was now afraid of Aaron, afraid he would rape his friend. His fear and selfishness led him to seek to destroy Aaron – a destructive act, which resulted in pain, suffering and death.

Adam and Eve believed lies about God. The circle of love and trust was broken and, in fear, they ran and hid from God. As they no longer trusted God to look out for their welfare, they became self-focused, self-promoting, and selfish and ate the fruit seeking to become like God (an act of sin). Their condition was now terminal and without divine intervention the human race would die.

But God did not leave us to die in our terminal state but sent His Son to heal the damage, to reveal the truth, to win us back to love and trust and restore His character, His methods, His principles of love in us again. Because of Jesus Christ, we can have the lies purged and experience a new motive, a new principle, a new heart attitude of love for others, real freedom from fear and selfishness. We can live new lives in which we love others more than ourselves!

This healing starts with the truth about God, as revealed in Christ, which wins us back to trust. And in trust we open the heart to receive God’s regenerating love and then become channels of His love to others. We give ourselves in love to uplift and benefit others. How different would things be for the White and Cicciarro families if they would have sought the truth rather than believing the lie, if they would have loved others first.

May we always pursue the truth, the truth about God, experience His love and become a conduit of goodness, beneficence and love!

Merry Christmas

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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