Gabe’s father was a man that no one would trust. The adage, “You can’t be a good addict without being a good liar,” fit his old man quite well. Gabe grew up hearing his father rant that he hadn’t been drinking as he staggered through the house (at least until his mother quit asking/accusing).
As Gabe grew older his father would occasionally take Gabe around town. When his father spent money or talked to women Gabe would always hear, “Don’t tell your mother about this or we’ll get in trouble” with a wink. At first it made him feel big for his father to trust him with a secret. As Gabe grew older and started connecting more dots, it made him angry.
Gabe’s mother wasn’t much better about living in reality. As she took Gabe to church or school events, she would always talk as if their life was great. She talked about how excited they were to go on their next trip or go on and on about her new clothes. Gabe could never figure out how she could be so bitter and isolated at home yet so “peppy” in public.
At home Gabe’s mother fluctuated between talking to Gabe as a friend about all his father’s failings and betrayal, and just letting her bitterness spew out in derogatory rants about whatever Gabe did. When Gabe would ask “What’s wrong, Mama? Why are talking to me like that?” She would scold him “Nothing’s wrong, if you would just do as you’re told everything would be fine.”
Gabe got the message both his parents were sending – if you don’t like the way life is, just make up your own reality and force others to live in it (by deception, manipulation, or emotional force). Gabe mastered his lessons and was soon an adept liar himself.
In college, however, he met his now wife for whom he gained an authentic love. It scared him, because he knew that to truly love her he must let her actually know him. He would have to surrender his power to “create his own reality” and force her to live in it. But she was worth it. As he surrendered his power (later he realized it was repentance) he found that life was more enjoyable in the “real reality.”
While Gabe was wrestling with this change, he read Psalm 120 in his daily Bible readings. It was shocking to read his testimony written thousands of years before he lived it. He used Psalm 120 as an outline for his prayer of surrender to truth and has turned to it frequently as an outline for prayer when the temptation to deceive returns to his mind.