Friday, September 09, 2005

Great advice from Augustine!

"Try to acquire those virtues which you think your brothers lack, and you will no longer see their defects, because you will not have them yourselves."
Saint Augustine

I read this in a commentary on today's Gospel (Luke 6:39-42). Jesus talks about "the blind leading the blind" and asks that amazing question: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye?"

Which brings me to my own "Confessions."

I don't know about you, but I can stand just about anything from another person except a lie. I hate lies, and make no bones about it.

What makes this really weird is that I'm a great liar myself. Oh, don't get me wrong...I don't lie about "important" things (although who am I to say what's "important" or not?). It's more like a nasty using the "F" word when you blow a tire, or your cat jumps into your bowl of fresh pasta.

Mostly my lies are stupid and unnecessary. Worse, sometimes I actually feel virtuous about my lies.

For example, let's say I see a girl wearing an attractive dress. Or a guy sporting a very cool necktie.

Now I could just say to the girl, "hey, nice dress!" Or to the guy, "great tie!"

But I find myself -- often! -- "enhancing" my compliments. Rather than just offering a compliment on said dress or tie, I'm likely to embroider a bit, as in:

"I saw a movie with Meg Ryan wearing a dress really similar to yours, and you look tons better in it than she ever did."


"You know that tie you're wearing? I swear I saw that same pattern in a Brooks Brothers catalog and the model wearing it doesn't even come close to looking as good as you do right now."

Couple of problems with the above the three Meg Ryan movies I've seen, I've never even noticed what she wore. And I not only do not peruse Brooks Brothers catalogs...I don't even know if they issue them.

You're probably asking yourself one of two things:

1.) "Why am I reading this bilge?"


2) "So? What's the harm?"

I can't answer Question Number One, but I can tell certainly address Question Number Two.

The answer is, since I'm a liar myself, I tend to look for lies in others. And that's no good. It's a habit as bad as, or even worse than, lying. "It takes one to know one" might be a terrific adage, but I'm doubting its veracity. (There I go again!)

So, under the "What I Learned Today" list, is simply this...I've gotta stop with the lying. No lie is harmless, no sin benign.

Because if I don't stop, I'll never quite stop seeing flaws in others (while oblivious to my own defects.)

Thank you for reading this. Personally, I think you're the best reader since...uh, never mind. But thanks!