I used to be a liar and a cheat. My indiscretions mostly included lying to, and cheating on, boyfriends. At the time, I viewed myself as a good person, and I really didn’t like confrontation. So instead of confronting difficult situations, I choose the easy way out and lied, which allowed me to maintain several relationships at once.

I can’t really remember my first lie, but it probably involved my first serious boyfriend in junior high. I was receiving attention from more than one boy and I didn’t have the integrity, or desire, to limit myself to dating one person. Over the course of three years of dating, I cheated on him multiple times. Thankfully, “cheating” on your junior high boyfriend usually involved pretty innocent activities. But over the years, and in different relationships, my transgressions increased in their severity.

I’m extremely grateful that no children or animals were harmed as a result of my lack of integrity. But I do deeply regret the heartache I caused along the way.

God graciously brought me to a place where I recognized my deceit, and even better, brought me along a path of healing from it. He first broke my heart, and then provided a long season of singleness. During that season, I learned to highly value honesty and integrity. When I met my future husband, it was his honesty and integrity that most attracted me to him. It was no surprise that we both mentioned integrity in our wedding vows as one of our most treasured aspects about the other person.

Bruce Muzik, a writer, seminar leader and coach, learned about integrity in a more dramatic way. He radically changed his life after admitting his infidelity to his wife. It ended his marriage, but gave him the freedom and gift of honesty. He also went on to face and confront his secretly-held racism by moving into a South African ghetto as the only white man among 100,000 black Africans. This helped him develop a passion to help others lead a more authentic and fulfilled life by facing deeply-held secrets, and confessing them to those we keep them from.  He now teaches and coaches others to do the same. He tells his story in the TED talk below.

Bruce teaches that “the secrets we hide have a devastating impact on our life. We are forced to lie about who we are, and we present ourselves to the world as something that we are not. If we do this long enough, we lose touch with who we authentically are. Our aliveness gets replaced with numbness. And that numbness can lead us down paths of despair. Bruce tells the story of a man who wrote to him, confessing that he has cheated on his wife for most of their married life. He was despondent and had considered suicide rather than face the truth of his infidelity.

The consequences of keeping our secrets to ourselves can often far outweigh the consequences of actually sharing our secret. When we share our truth with others, we release ourselves from our self-imposed prison, and we empower others to find their own peace with the truth.”

Bruce’s ex-wife went on to find the love of her life soon after their marriage ended. They are still good friends as a result of his honesty with his betrayal. Bruce went on to fulfill life-long dreams and inspire thousands of others to do the same. Once I found the peace and deep satisfaction that comes with choosing a life of honesty, I can never imagine going back.

 

The truth may hurt for a little while, but a lie hurts forever. —  Unknown