It's good for the soul, right?
I have been carrying around this guilt for a week. I told a lie. Not just a little white lie, designed to smooth over a social situation, a big one. Not a lie about just anything, a lie about my sleeping habits. Not to just anyone, but to someone whose kindness towards me has been significant.
Scene: Driving with a colleague towards a denominational event. This colleague was a witness, up close and personal, to a horrible, painful time in my life. This colleague saw me coming apart, and reached out to me, prayed with me, offered words of comfort.
This colleague is also clear on the other end of the theological spectrum from myself. This colleague is a self-avowed Conservative, "Bible-believing*," Evangelical, who has made clear and public statements that are anti-gay, anti-inclusion. Despite this, we bonded over my trauma. And this colleague has expressed trust in me, trust I have returned.
Until the drive. In answer to the question, "How are you doing?", a clear reference to me, post-trauma, I responded, "Fine, Great in fact." And then I offered a total bullshit excuse for why I don't sleep in my house every single weekend.
Even as the words tumbled from my mouth, I thought, Stop. No. Don't do that. Say nothing, rather than saying a lie. But I did say it. The colleague sincerely expressed support for me. The rest of our ride, our conversation was lovely, and went on without incident. But. Damn it. The damage was done. Damage to my own soul.
I feel really dreadful. I feel deceitful in a way I hadn't before. There is no way to make amends for this lie without outing myself, in all likelihood, and this would be the wrong, wrong, wrong person to out myself to.
Interestingly, this incident highlighted for me how not-guilty I feel about other aspects of my closeted life. Loving Beloved, sleeping with her, protecting that corner of my life while going about my ministry: check, check, check. But this lie was wrong. I deceived a person who has shown me only kindness (while, yes, doing spiritual violence to God's LGBTQ children... though "violence" belies the gentleness of this person's character).
I am not asking for approval for my lie. I know it was wrong. I simply need to keep myself accountable.
I confess to Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned, in thought, word, and deed. May God redeem me, may Christ restore me, may the Spirit amend my life and make me new.
* I hate, loathe, despise and abominate the fact that the phrase "Bible-believing" has been hijacked by biblical conservatives... along with the whole Christian identity, of course. If I didn't "believe" the bible, I'd hardly be a Christian, let alone a minister, struggling with the ethics if lying-as-insurance policy.