"Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible."
The other night I camped out in that paragraph for a while and thought about all the ways in my life I see this demonstrated. I have struggled with honesty my entire life. Part of this, I think, is because of my writer's imagination; I'm always wanting to "embellish" and make my life-story sound just a teensy bit more interesting...
I'm also someone who avoids conflict whenever possible, so if I can lie to get out of a difficult conversation... Well, it's tempting.
But a few years ago when a lie of mine deeply hurt someone I loved, I knew I had some hard work ahead of me. I was ashamed of what I had done, of the piece of my life I'd had to work so hard to conceal. At the same time, I was writing Me, Just Different. And as Skylar learned about authenticity from her boyfriend's family, I was working on authenticity within me.
I decided I wanted to be the same person all the time, whether I was with my pastor or my coworkers. Whether I was with my husband or my girlfriends. And the first step toward that was getting rid of the lying.
This sounds a little cheesy, but to keep myself in line I pretended that at the end of the day, I would have to send a mass email to every person I'd ever met and tell them everything I'd done from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. What I ate. Who I talked to. What kind of words I used. What I read. How much TV I watched. How long I was on Facebook versus how long I was working. And in my head, all that information would get sent to my husband, my mom, my pastor, the girl who lived in the apartment upstairs who I was currently witnessing to, my ex-friends, my boss, and so forth.
And oh boy, was I ever aware of every activity I did throughout the day.
Now. This exercise can be taken to a dangerous extreme, because ultimately the only opinion that matters is God's. If my sweet, well-meaning Grandmother disagrees with a decision I make, but God agrees with it, then sorry, Grandma. That's just the way things are going to be.
But I had reached a very scary place of duplicity where I knew God saw and disapproved of some choices I was making ... but so long as He was quiet, I could mentally blow off my bad decisions. Talk about scary.
I still have honesty problems sometimes. But I do a lot worse when I allow myself "little" lies. I find the temptation toward bigger ones grows and grows, just like C.S. Lewis was talking about. And then I have to put myself back in the mindset of sending out that scary mass email, of reminding myself that I'm working toward authenticity.
In the above quote, C.S. Lewis says, "That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance." What's a little decision you could make today that will move you closer to Christ?