Saturday, July 30, 2011

To Tell the Truth..

Seeing as we have children of a certain age, we seem to go through stages where we have to really emphasize telling the truth. As our children have gotten a little older, we have begun to discuss telling the whole truth, not trying to deceive by adding to or leaving out some of the story, and even lying by exaggeration. 
They are all pretty bright kids and seem to be "Getting" it, and if there is a question, they can get a "freebie" by asking first, "If I say such and so, is that a lie?" 

I'm a stickler for truth. I won't abide lying... I'll put up with all sorts of other mischief and even disobedience, but do NOT lie to me. Jeff feels similarly, so in our home, lying is about as bad as it gets. Lately I feel like I'm being bombarded with lies. Oh, not outright, "the sky is green" lies... but deceptions, partial truths, exaggerations. 

When I think of the reasons why my kids might lie (to get out of trouble, to gain attention, or to sway favor to their point of view) and then I see all the grown-up lying that is going on, it seems like we never quite outgrow all of those reasons. 

I wonder if some of us as adults might need a refresher course in telling the truth? 

Why is lying so wrong? 
First and foremost, God abhors lies and deceit. 
Second, when you lie, you ruin your own credibility. Even if 98% of what you say is true, I will not have confidence in it if I find out that 2% was a (purposeful) lie. 
Finally, whatever change or decision you were trying to get from people may come undone if it is for the wrong (not true) reasons. However, even if you ARE able to effect a good decision based on untruth... that does not absolve the lie! 

In the interest of telling the (whole) truth, this line of thought is a result of the many politcal discussions, emails, articles, etc. that have been going on for the past few years.  
I'll be blunt; to stretch, disort, hide, or otherwise color the entire truth of the matter even for a "good cause" is lying. It is not honoring to God, it does nothing for your cause, and perhaps most scary of all, small exaggerations seem to pave the way for larger and larger distortions until I am recently seeing things that are just outright NOT true, being spread (perhaps not originated, but spread nonetheless) by people who ought to know better and do better. 

There is no such thing as lying for a good cause. This includes exaggerations and partial truths put together for the sole purpose of eliciting a strong emotional response. Truth does not need embellishing. 

I challenge you to very closely take stock of your manner of communicating. I understand that the political issues on the table right now are such that do inspire a strong emotional feeling... some of the issues are incredibly important and many people feel that our country is at a turning point right now. I agree, and it is BECAUSE the issues are so incredibly important that I implore us all to proceed with carefulness, thoughtfulness, and attention to morals and ethics. 
Do not be drawn into the mud that often surrounds "certain topics."  Be responsible for the information you spread even if it did not originate with you. 

Take a moment to consider, "If I say such and such... is that the truth?" 

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