When I was a kid, I thought the “good lie” was something I told my parents that got me out of trouble. Can you relate? Most (if not all of the time) though, I ended up getting caught in the falsehood and got disciplined worse than if I had just told the truth in the first place!
Now The Good Lie is a movie about the Sudanese ‘”lost boys,” who sought to escape the slaughter of thousands during the horrific war that engulfed their country of Sudan in the 1980s. While the movie poster (and previews) feature a smiling Reece Witherspoon, the real stars are the refugees, and the real story is about the incredible sacrifices and friendships these young men forged in the fires of survival and the journey to freedom in America.
Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn defined the “good lie” as a lie that is “good” because it protects another person. This is obviously where the film got its title—and that’s as much as I will give away. (But bring some Kleenex, FYI.)
Have you ever told a “good lie”? My guess is yes. I believe it is inherent in our nature to want to protect those we love—even to the point of being however dishonest as needed to do so. But we must not forget—even for a moment—that it is not a good lie to protect people from the bad truth.
What is the bad truth? Quite simply, it is the universal human need for salvation and a Savior:
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own (Isaiah 53:6).
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23).
For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a).
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth (1 John 1:8).
In a very real sense—and especially spiritual sense—we are the “lost” boys and girls of planet earth. There is a great war being waged all around us for our souls and for the eternal destiny of every human being. Our hearts are emotional refugees until they find their freedom in “The Good Truth”:
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).
Listen, it is time we stop believing the horrible lie that keeping silent when we have a chance to share the gospel is a good idea because it may protect us from an awkward moment. We need to face the reality that our friends who don’t know Jesus are truly destined to an eternity far worse than any movie could ever portray. Just like the Sudanese “lost boys,” they long for a home and a place where they are at peace and free from the deadly conditions that surrounded them in their past. Though it may look like on the outside that your friends are “fine” and don’t need a relationship with Christ, the truth is that there is no peace to be found apart from God:
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Helping the suffering of this world find a home is truly a noble cause, to be sure. Jesus commanded us to give our lives for “the least of these,” but don’t forget that the ultimate poverty and suffering does not come from a physical war or human cruelty. The worst destiny in the universe is to spend an eternity apart from the God who created us and gave His life for us. When you have the courage to tell people both the bad and good truth about their condition, and extend God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, you further THE Cause and ultimately play a part in saving souls for eternity.
And that’s no lie!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
The Good Lie is a great reminder that we are surrounded by “lost boys and girls” every day. Your friends are spiritual refugees, and only the gospel can lead them to their ultimate home.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Dear Jesus, open the eyes of our hearts to see the struggling and hurting people around us. Give us the boldness to open our mouths to share the gospel and further THE Cause for Your glory.
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:11. Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.
Get: The Good Lie Faith Discussion Guide.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: Our friends are spiritual refugees who need the rescue of Jesus.
Key Scripture: John 3:16-18
- Should Americans do everything they can to help refugees?
- In what ways are your friends lost and on a journey for survival?
- What can you do for both physical and spiritual refugees?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples?