We all know confession is good for the soul

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2013

The headlines on television and in newspapers last week announced that cycling champion Lance Armstrong confessed to lying for the past 20 years.

During an in-depth interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong “spilled his guts on using performance-enhancing substances that contributed to his seven Tour de France wins.”

Last year, Armstrong was stripped of all his Tour de France titles in wake of an investigation into doping, which he had denied over and over. After his admission of doping, he was also stripped of a bronze medal he won at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Armstrong has apologized to various people in the sport of cycling, as well as the employees of his cancer support foundation – Livestrong.

The most emotional part of the interview was reportedly when Oprah asked him about his personal life.  That’s when he recalled how his 13-year-old son, the oldest of his five children, defended his father, telling friends, “What you are saying about my dad is not true.” Armstrong said he knew he had to tell Luke, “Don’t defend me anymore.”

Armstrong concluded that his ultimate crime was “the betrayal of those people that supported me and believed in me. They got lied to.”  Imagine having to tell your child you had lied to them for many years. How could a person adamantly deny the truth repeatedly for almost two decades?

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “He who permits himself to tell a lie once finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual.”  English clergyman Thomas Fuller stated, “If I speak what is false, I must answer for it; if truth, it will answer for me.”  Armstrong would agree.

There’s an old saying attributed to Aesop in the 6th century B.C., “Honesty is the best policy.” Some think this was a favorite motto of George Washington. In his Farewell Address as President, he commented, “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.”

In his own unique way, Mark Twain declared, “I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington.  He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.”  Twain also said, “The difference between a person who tells the truth and tells a lie is that the liar’s gotta have a better memory.”

Historical novelist Sir Walter Scott put it poetically, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”  It’s been said, “A lie is a coward’s way of trying to get out of trouble.”

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.” writes Bible teacher Beth Moore. The Psalmist prayed, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:2).

Lying made the top ten sins when it comes to commandments from God.  Exodus 20:16 plainly tells us, “Do not lie.” Confession to God really is good for the soul.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).


Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is jwhite@andycable.com.