The Pinocchio Syndrome

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:8 NIV)

Many are familiar with Pinocchio, the wooden boy made famous by the 1940 Walt Disney full-length animated film. According to the blue fairy, to become a real boy he had to obey his conscience.

It did not take long for Pinocchio to fail. He found it expedient to lie but each time he did his nose became longer. Eventually it turned into a tree limb. His falsehoods had observable consequences, therefore, we have the Pinocchio syndrome. As the Blue Fairy wisely said, “A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”

Perhaps watching Pinocchio should be made mandatory. We are living in an age of unprecedented deceit. In America, controversy has recently swirled around the confirmation of Bret Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (That’s an understatement!) With his confirmation, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), cited the contribution of another senator, Susan Collins (R-ME). About her Graham stated: “Senator Collins saved the senate from plunging over the abyss.” I firmly believe the statement of the senator from South Carolina was correct. 

Long regarded as a top choice for the nation’s highest court, Bret Kavanaugh has been put through an incredible ordeal. I won’t rehash all the details. Enough has been written, however, much of it by men and women with the Pinocchio Syndrome. 

As a general observation, the media and anti-Kavanaugh forces cared little that key details were missing from Dr. Ford’s testimony. Also, there was a total lack of corroboration with her description of the incident. Add to that glaring inconsistencies in her story. In short, the accuser had no case except in the court of public opinion. Nevertheless, we repeatedly heard about Professor Ford’s credibility.

Despite the rancor, threats and mob tactics aligned against him, Bret Kavanaugh was confirmed, then sworn in as Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The vicious assault on his integrity was withstood.

Much of America breathed a collective sigh of relief. They are now ready to move on. Is there motivation to find out the truth or to investigate the accusers? Probably not.

America’s vulnerability to tyranny has been exposed. Without a scintilla of evidence, an almost successful campaign was orchestrated to ruin a good man–and all for political reasons. When promoters of a lie are of sufficient number to intimidate and to drown out the truth, it is over.

To a culture once steeped in justice, lies and deceit are growing and growing. The Pinocchio syndrome means falsehoods that are as plain as the nose on your face are believed anyway. Choosing the lie is choosing a tempting road from which there is no return.

The Bible makes clear that before Jesus comes back, God will rid the earth of all who deal in lies (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). To become a real Christ-follower, we must yield to this thing called conscience or be condemned.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness… Therefore, God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:18, 24-25 NIV)

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