When You Lie...
by Sam Williamson
My sister Sarah went to a small college
where real professors taught the classes. Her
history advisor was Professor Petrovich. He was
born in Yugoslavia and taught Eastern European
Petrovich was also always late. One day he was really
late, late for a plane flight. He raced down the
freeway at ninety-three miles an hour. A police
car began to chase him with sirens wailing, but he
kept going. Soon half a dozen police cars joined
the pursuit, and they forced him off the road.
He leapt out of the car and he bellowed at the
I am the official interpreter for
the President of the United States. I’ve got
to catch a plane. If I miss that plane,
President Carter will be humiliated, and
President Tito dishonored. I’ve got to get to
the airport now!
The officers stared at each other, dashed back to
their cars, and chaperoned the professor to the
airport in a motorcade of flashing lights and
wailing sirens, as though they were escorting the
president himself. It was the ride of the
Professor Petrovich told the story to my sister
one day after class. He concluded in his thick
accent: “Sawah, the moral of the story is,
‘When you lie, lie B-E-E-E-G!’”
The World Lies B-E-E-E-G
Several years ago, New York Times writer David
Brooks heard an old radio broadcast that had aired
the day World War II ended. He wrote, “The allies
had, on that very day, completed one of the
noblest military victories in the history of
humanity. And yet there was no chest-beating.
Nobody was erecting triumphal arches.” He
It’s funny how the nation’s mood was
at its most humble when its actual achievements
were at their most extraordinary.
When we look at that past culture, we see a silent
earthquake—unnoticed and unquestioned—has shaken
and twisted the hearts of our present culture.
It’s a tectonic shift that secretly disfigures us
to this day: we’ve grabbed hold of a counterfeit
Brooks says that humility once was valued as the
highest virtue, but now,
Instead of being humble before God and
history, moral salvation [can] be found through
intimate contact with oneself and by exposing
the beauty, the power and the divinity within.
C. S. Lewis says, “Humility is not thinking less
of ourselves, it is thinking of ourselves
less.” But the propaganda of the world—that
b-e-e-e-g lie— deceptively asserts that our
emotional salvation can only be found in
self-esteem and self-love.
The world says our greatest need is to love and
respect ourselves; the Bible says that the only
thing that can kill us (emotionally, relationally,
and spiritually) is a lack of humility. The exact
opposite of what we hear every day.
The Seeming Upside Down Truth
Why do we claw for self-esteem and self-love? Some
abyss inside feels empty, unloved, or
insignificant. The world’s solution is to fill
that void with ourselves. And something
about that solution makes sense to our
The gospel, on the other hand, teaches us to quit
worshipping ourselves; to die to ourselves rather
than live to ourselves; and that only in losing
our lives will we find the life we were designed
for, a life of hope, joy (and other-centeredness).
Nobody ever doubted the gospel because it promises
too little. We all doubt the gospel because its
promises are bold but counter-intuitive.
Professor Petrovich really was the official
interpreter for President Jimmy Carter whenever
Yugoslavian President Tito visited. He really was
going to meet the two presidents. His bold claim
was daring, urgent, and absolutely true.
Christ didn’t come merely to give us a plane
ticket to heaven. He came to give us a wild,
audacious, urgent ride to the airport; sirens are
wailing, lights are flashing, and we’re speeding
through the adventure of our lives. Once we let go
Frankly, it’s gonna be one heck of a ride.
Sam Williamson has published
numerous articles and has written two books.
He has a blog site, www.beliefsoftheheart.com,
and can be reached at
God in Conversation: How to Recognize
His Voice Everywhere, by Samuel C.
Williamson, published by Kregel
Publications, 2016, available from Amazon
photo of a driver stopped by a police
officer, photo (c) by Kasia Bialasiewicz