Lies, Lies, and More Lies
About the Guest
Author Robert Wolgemuth points out lies the culture promotes that men readily believe if they're not careful. He exposes nine areas where men get deceived, and shares about his childhood and how he learned the difficult consequences of lying.
Robert Wolgemuth points out lies the culture promotes that men believe if they’re not careful. He exposes nine areas where men get deceived, and shares about his childhood and how he learned the consequences of lying.
Lies, Lies, and More Lies
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 1st. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. When we start to see the truth about this life and the life to come, that truth begins to set us free.
We’ll talk more about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You know one of the things—and I’ve shared this with you before—my spiritual transformation happened in my life when my understanding of sin changed. I grew up thinking, “Sin is the few bad habits that I have, the things that I don’t normally do, and I know I shouldn’t; but the time I cheated on the Latin test—things like—that’s sin.”
But when somebody sat me down and took me to the Bible and said, “No, what sin is is the predisposition of your heart to want to rebel against God and say, ‘I’ll be in charge of my own life,’” all of the sudden, I understood: “Oh, wait! I really am a sinner.”
“I’m not a sinner because I’ve done a few bad things. I’m a sinner because I’m constitutionally predisposed to saying, ‘I’ll be in charge, not You, God.’”
Dennis: Yes, and that really leads me, Bob, to doing what I wanted to do with our guest today. We’ve been talking to Robert Wolgemuth. Robert, thanks for coming back and enduring our tough questions—
Robert: You’re welcome.
Dennis: —because we’re tossing some—
Robert: Like they say in Chick-fil-A, “My pleasure.” [Laughter]
Dennis: Yes. There you go. Robert has written a book, though, called Lies Men Believe. If you haven’t been listening to the broadcast this week, go back and get caught up because we’re talking about gritty stuff here. Robert, in your book, you have nine categories of lies men believe. I’m going to ask you a question, “Which one is a lie that trips you up the most?” Is there one, or is there a category—one that is not a habit, but is where the enemy assaults and attacks you?
I’ll tell you which one mine is to give you a chance to look.
I really start with lies men believe about God. I think it’s probably why I like Tozer’s quote, and I’ve probably worn it out here on FamilyLife Today in the past five to six years; but he made a statement: “The most important thing about you as a person is what you think about God”—what comes to mind when you think about God. So, I think where the enemy assaults me is causing me to forget who God is / causing me to forget God’s there and tempting me not to believe the truth about God and for me to trust Him in the present and with circumstances.
Life is an interesting journey of determining what you believe and, then, living it out regardless of your circumstances or your feelings. Feelings trip me up.
When I start trusting them rather than the truth from the Scripture about God, I can fall into a trap. Now, I’ve given you enough time.
Robert: I’m going to say 26—by the way, just for those folks who are listening, there are 40 lies that men believe; and there are 6,000—what am I saying. We’ve chosen 40. [Laughter] That came from a group of friends—I mentioned them in the acknowledgements—who rolled up our sleeves, and we pored through stuff and narrowed it down to 40.
I think one of the things that I am vulnerable to is believing that more stuff / more money will make me happy. I think, maybe, this—this isn’t necessarily only a man thing, but I think it can be a powerful thing in men’s lives—is the drive to succeed / the drive to gather more things / more stuff.
In fact, when Nancy and I first got married, and we were doing life together, and she was learning things about a man and how he thinks that she didn’t know before—I said, “Nancy, let me help you understand something that happens to me all the time.” I said, “Men compete and compare. We make a game out of stuff even though there is no referee and no chalk lines, and we compare ourselves to others to our own detriment.”
A lot of this goes back to theology. A lot of it goes back to what you were saying about God. So, sometimes, I think He’ll love me more if I’m a better boy / if I give Him more / if I’m nicer to my neighbor.
Dennis: If you perform.
Robert: If I perform; right. So, our stuff makes us who we are. We believe that.
I just had a conversation with a man who had a good friend whose dad passed away and gave him a garage full of tools. I mean the really cool stuff.
You know a Milwaukee reciprocating saw?
Robert: My heart just started to pound. I remember when neighbors move in, the kids play with the neighbors’ toys out front. The women are inside building relationships. The man is standing at his garage looking around going—“This guy is way cool. I mean his sports equipment, his tools….” So, we compete and compare, and I think that isolates us emotionally with other folks with men. That’s really one that I’m tempted to believe.
It’s so interesting. The lottery, these days, is insane.
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Robert: What people don’t know is that the worst that could ever happen to them would be to win the lottery. You look at the statistics. The guys that win lose it all. They lose friends. They lose perspective. There are lots of suicides that follow winning the lottery.
Dennis: I’m reminded of the Proverb that says, “Lord, I pray I make enough so I don’t steal”—
Dennis: —“but that I don’t make so much that I forget You, God.”
Robert: Yes. That’s so good.
Dennis: Bob, I saw you glancing at the book. Did you pick one that is one that trips you up?
Bob: I think the one I’m tempted to believe is that I don’t need male friendships / that I can get along without those. Even as we are saying that, our engineer, Keith, is reaching out for a hug in the other room; and I’m just going to ignore that completely because—
Robert: All right. I’ve got a great story—a true story. Neil Warren, who founded eHarmony—
Robert: —a counselor, psychologist living in Pasadena, California—he and I were having a conversation. He said, “Let me tell you what I do when I’m meeting with a couple, and I say to the woman—the bride / the wife—‘Tell me about your three closest friends.’ She starts to rattle off—‘Well, there is Judy and Joan and—oh, wow, let’s see. What do you mean, like, friend?’ She’s rattling them off. Now, she’s finished.”
Now, Neil says to the guy, “Tell me about your three closest friends.” He says, “So, like, what do you mean friend? Well, there is Dave at work.” We don’t have friends—not like we should.
Part of it is we bring that on ourselves because we’re always directional about our conversations with men. So, you know you’re standing at a neighborhood party, and it’s where you live, what you drive, where you work; but it’s never a phone call from a friend that says, “Just wanted to check in with you.”
Dennis: I want to talk about lies men believe about sin; but before we get to that, I want you to share the story you share in the book about how you answered that question, “Who your friend was,” right after you had moved from Florida to Michigan in your marriage to Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Robert: Well, you know I had lived in Orlando for 17 years, and I had a pastor who was my closest friend. I dedicate this book to him, Dr. David Swanson.
The church / the neighborhood—I was the president of my homeowners’ association. I loved—I knew—I had 39 neighbors. I knew the names of every person, every kid, everything. Now, I am 2,000 miles from home starting all over again. Honestly, this great sense of loneliness came crashing in on me; and I’m thinking, “I don’t have any friends here. I’ve got to start all over again.”
In fact, it’s interesting. One of the ways you build friendships is when your kids—
Robert: —play on the soccer team with other—
Robert: You’re standing on the sideline, and you sidle up to a guy and say, “Hey, my name is Robert. Tell me about yourself.” When you don’t have that—you know I’m 67. Nancy is 57. So, it’s really hard—that was very hard for me. That was one of the lies that I insisted when my group of buddies got together and said, “What are the lies?” That’s got to be one of them—you and I can do just fine without friends, and that’s a lie.
Dennis: I think a lot of men feel that. I appreciate, Bob, your being honest about that.
I don’t think men feel the need for friendships in the same way that women do.
Bob: We started off by talking about how my own sense of sin was miscalculated early in my spiritual life. One of your major categories here is lies men believe about sin, and the first lie here is what others think I am matters more than who I really am. We tend to have a picture of ourselves that’s not based on what God says is true about me but what other people say is true about me.
Robert: So, interesting—in the marketing world, you call that branding. So, what’s my brand? Well, who cares? I want to know who I am, and years ago, Father John Powell wrote a book called Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?. Remember that book?
Dennis: I do.
Robert: And the answer to the question was: “If I tell you who I really am, and you don’t like that, that’s all I’ve got.”
So, protecting myself, I stay away from that, and I sort of play the “This is who I think you’d like for me to be”. We play this little charade, and it’s not fulfilling.
Bob: You write in here that the truth we need to believe is that God’s grace is needed both for the phony everyone sees and the scoundrel inside we know so well. We are posers—
Bob: —as guys.
Bob: We’re scoundrels, and we know we’re scoundrels. Unless we understand that, “Yes, we do need God’s grace so that we’re less posers / that we’re more authentic with”—
Bob: —“one another,” so, we’re over time less scoundrels.
Robert: Yes. Well, you know the biggest word on the cover of this book is lies, but the most important word is truth. This is really about John 8:32: “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” So, all these lies are leading us toward something that’s more important than gathering up 40 lies. It’s sending us to the truth of God’s Word—
Robert: —where we can get stuff fixed.
Dennis: Actually, Robert, the largest word on the cover is men.
Robert: That’s true.
Dennis: It really is men. I’m sorry to have to correct you here about your own book, but the reason I wanted to do that is because I think this is all about men today assuming the full mantle of what God intended upon their lives. It’s faith. It’s belief. It’s embracing the truth about God and about who He says we are.
Bob: One of the lies you address in here is the lie that a guy will believe—that as long as I have good intentions, it doesn’t matter what my behavior is. My good intentions trump that. We can let ourselves off the hook for our performance by saying, “Well, my heart was in the right place.”
Robert: That’s like being in a car and going the wrong direction and really believing that you’re going in the right direction. It’s foolishness. It’s just not true.
Bob: You think, in the Bible, about King Saul who—he believed the lie that—
—“Well, the real reason that I didn’t kill all the Amalekites is because I wanted to offer these sacrifices to God.” Samuel calls him out and says, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” This idea that you think, “If my intentions are right, then, I’m okay.” We’ve got to start off with the reality: Our hearts are not in the right place.
Robert: That’s right.
Bob: That’s the problem we’re dealing with. The truth you say here is: “God cares about His rules, and we have to do the same for our own good.”
Robert: Yes. We talked about the way the book is formatted. Our friends at Moody did such a great job with this. There is, in the back of the book, the 40 truths. So, like CliffNotes, in the back of a book, like an index, you can go back; and every one of those truths relates back to a lie. So, you can actually soak in that. Much better for you to soak in truth—
Bob: —than to soak in the lie.
Robert: —than to soak in the lies; yes.
Bob: You also addressed the fact—and this is the thing that tripped me up—“My sin isn’t really that bad.” So, I thought of myself—really until a friend confronted me with this, I thought of myself as a mostly—
—good person who had a few bad things about me. If Jesus needed to die for those few bad things, I guess that was how God works things out; but I really thought, “I’m a pretty good guy with a few rough edges. Don’t you think most people have that kind of inflated self-opinion?
Robert: Because—I talked about competing and comparing because there are always worse guys you can compare yourself to.
Robert: “So, I’m not that guy. So, I’m good to go.”
Dennis: I was having a conversation with a friend recently; and I said, “You know, the older I get the less I feel like I truly understand how God views me with grace and with mercy.” I don’t think we have a clue—
Dennis: —about how filled with sin / how imperfect we really are. I think it’s why I’m looking forward to going to heaven.
Robert: And how holy God is—
Robert: —in the context of what you just said—compared to—
Robert: —an absolutely holy God.
One of the interesting things about this conversation is the three of us know that women are the primary consumers of books. So, a woman is listening to this conversation; and she’s saying, “All right. So, how can Charlie get this book?” A million copies of Lies Women Believe have sold. So, if a wife would say to her husband, “You know”—whatever name you give him—“honey, I’ve read Lies Women Believe. I’ve gone through it with my friends,” it would really mean a lot to me if you’d read this book.”
Dennis: And what I’d encourage a wife to do is say, “You know what, sweetheart, as you find something that really hits you, I’d love to discuss that with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.” Then, I’d encourage wives to let their husbands talk and create a safe place for them to be real with you. Most guys are intimidated with dipping into a book like this.
Bob: Well, and most guys may be afraid to talk to their wives about what they’re really thinking and feeling because they are afraid their wives are going to think less of them if they are honest;—
Bob: —their wives are going to recognize that “I’m not the guy I’m supposed to be”, or “I’m trying to be a poser in front of you. And if I tell you the truth about me, you’ll run out of here as quickly as you can.”
We talk about guys who think, “My sins not that bad.” There are other guys who think, “My sin is so bad that God’s grace can’t deal with my sin.” The shame and the guilt that some guys are feeling is so significant that they can’t believe God’s grace.
Robert: Lie 14—
Robert: God could never forgive me for what I’ve done. There are guys who are trapped there. “There is nothing I can do to separate me”—it’s Romans 8—“nothing I can do that separates me from God’s love.”
Dennis: You know I’m thinking of men who have confessed things in groups that are safe. A group of guys get together and finally bring out the raw truth: pornography—a guy saying, “You know I’m struggling with this, guys. Would you help me? Would you pray for me?”
Another guy confesses that when he was a young man and single, he paid for his girlfriend’s abortion—haunting images.
I think we have difficulty in understanding God’s grace and how He really can and does promise absolute cleansing—“as white as snow,” He says. As far as the East is from the West, He’ll remove our sins from us.
Bob: You told me that one of the lies that was kind of the biggest Aha! for you, as you were working on this book, was the idea that holiness is boring.
Robert: That’s right. That’s lie 16.
Bob: Yes. So, tell us about that.
Robert: Okay, when I was a kid—six or seven or eight years old—holiness was an adjective that described a certain kind of camp, literally. It was the Roxbury Holiness Camp. I’m grateful—let me just say that. I really mean it. I’m grateful for my heritage; but as a kid, holiness was boring.
That meant sitting on wood-plank pews listening to preachers go on and on and a grandfather who almost never smiled and a grandmother who really only cared if you were wearing something dark. Just, there was no joy.
You could tell visitors in our church because they wore colors. I’m not kidding. So, it was boring.
Now, I marry a woman who writes a book about holiness and the joy of holiness. Then, I read—in fact, it’s in the book—a paragraph that her daddy wrote about the pure joy of holy living. I’m thinking, “You know what? I want some of that. That’s who I want to be. That’s how I want to live.”
Dennis: You know I didn’t have a similar experience growing up, but how it showed up in my life—at least I think this is a cousin of this lie—is that heaven is going to be boring.
Robert: Harps, clouds; right? Cherubs?
Dennis: What are you going to do for all of eternity, for goodness sakes’?
Robert: No racquet ball courts; come on?
Dennis: Yes. Number 40, in your book, is the last one; and I think this is something men need to be, I think, exhorted with. Stephen Covey, I think, was the one who coined the words, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Dennis: This is the ultimate end right here.
Robert: It is. When I talk about my late-wife’s death, I don’t talk about her death. I talk about her stepping into heaven because she’s not dead. There is a sense in which—in fact, Stephen Covey opens his book with your friends walking past your casket—
Robert: —and you’re lying there room temperature, what are they saying about you? That’s the whole “…with the end in mind.” So, this is the truth. This is my life. I held my wife, and she died in my arms.
So, I know what it is to say, “Goodbye,” to your mate of 45—almost 45 years; and to realize in the presence of your children, while that happens, that this is good news / this is amazing / this is healing. In fact, it’s really—it’s true. Bobbie was completely healed in that moment. Her emaciated, cancer-ridden body was completely healed in that moment.
Honestly—I mean I really have never been afraid of death, but now, I’m really not at all. You realize the joy that is set before us because we know Christ and because He rose from the dead. That’s real stuff.
Dennis: The lie that you write about at the end of your book is: “Men believe my death will be the end of my story.” You’re saying the Bible proclaims it’s the beginning—
Robert: That’s right.
Dennis: —of seeing the One who made you face-to-face.
Robert: Dr. Ken Boa—and probably others have said this—“We live in the land of dying,”—
—“and we’re going to the land of the living”—which is the opposite of what we think is true.
Bob: Well, and Rick Warren said, “This is life is dress rehearsal for eternity.”
Robert: That’s right.
Bob: Eternity is the real performance. It’s the real—it’s what we’re here for—is eternity. This is preparing us—
Bob: —for when we’re home for what God has planned for eternity for us.
Robert: Spoiler alert: It’s a good thing. [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, I want to thank you, Robert, for being on the broadcast; but I want to end this broadcast by thanking Nancy—Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth—for marrying you and for helping you give birth to the companion book that she wrote and has now sold a million copies—Lies Women Believe—a book that I hope will be read by millions of men because we live, today, in a crisis in our country: a lack of civility, a lack of men protecting their—
—communities, of calling out one another when they are behaving poorly. I think this is a book for the day. Thanks for writing it.
Robert: Thank you; my pleasure. And my prayer is that that is exactly what it’ll do.
Bob: Well, imagine a group of guys getting together and going through a lie a week. You could go 40 weeks and just talk about—“Is this something you struggle with? If not, how is it that you don’t struggle with this?” It’d be a great conversation starter for men, and this is the book to help make that happen.
We’ve got copies of Robert Wolgemuth’s book, Lies Men Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free. You can order it from us online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call to order. 1-800-FL-TODAY is our number. Again, the toll-free number is 1-800-358-6329. It’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”; or you can order from us online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
The book is Lies Men Believe.
Now, this weekend up in Napa Valley, California, we’ve got a sold out group coming to the first Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway that’s occurring in our spring season. Next weekend, we’re in Norfolk, Virginia; and then, we have conferences starting to happen almost every weekend between now and mid-June. So, be praying for these couples who are in Napa this weekend.
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We hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about why smart women choose the wrong guy. Deepak Reju is going to be here. He has written a book called She’s Got the Wrong Guy, and we’ll talk with him on Monday. Hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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