We all know being dishonest with others is wrong and unacceptable: enough said. But there’s a kind of dishonesty we usually don’t talk about: being dishonest with ourselves. It happens when we’re unwilling to admit our personal faults and weaknesses. We convince ourselves that we can overcome our greatest weaknesses on our own. We go on without accountability. Eventually, either by force or surrender, though, we have to come to terms with who we really are.
If worry is like a dancing bear, then dishonesty is like a monkey with clanging cymbals. I’m a drummer—while we’re being honest, I prefer to be called a percussionist; if you’re a musician, you will get the joke, if not, I’ll just say I do more than bang on trash cans—so I love the toy monkeys with clanging cymbals. And I love the videos of monkeys trying to play with percussion instruments. (That stuff is make your ribs-hurt funny.) But when the monkey with clanging cymbals comes on the scene, we have a hard time hearing anything else. While that monkey is telling us lies about good music, like a garage-band drummer, we can’t hear the real melody. We can’t tune for the life of us. Eventually, we end up playing punk rock and having black hair, and calling ourselves an artist. (I did that, for the record.)
Sooner or later, though, the monkey stops clanging his cymbals for a moment and we hear something else: silence. And in the moments when it’s just you and your thoughts, you begin to reflect: God hasn’t been around for a while. Until it dawns on you, “He’s been here along—it’s me who hasn’t been around. It’s just been that darn, loud monkey version of me. It was funny and fun, but I still have a need for real music.”
We have a hard time perceiving God in the silence because we’re so loud. Dishonesty is like an amplifier of the noise. But eventually the silence will reach us, and we will have to make a change; so why not make it now?
We all have moments when we have to make decisions about who we are, and who we want to be. So we just need to shut up the monkey and make the decision. We just need to say: “I will listen to God. And I will admit my weaknesses and ask for help—from him and from other people.”
Are you willing to make a change? What’s your monkey with clanging cymbals?
For further reflection read the story of Elijah meeting God in the silence.