“When in doubt, tell the truth.” -Mark Twain
(Guest Writer - Katie Corbett, VA) As a teacher, I have students who either lie about me or lie to me on a daily basis. I suppose it just comes along with the job. I have one student in particular who will lie to me almost weekly. I’ll call him “Dan.” It is not that Dan is being malicious or anything like that; I think that he finds it much easier to lie. He will lie about silly things, like his pencil being broken or what he did when he went home the night before that prevented him from doing his homework. If he would just tell the truth he would be totally fine, but Dan has to lie and in the end winds up with a detention and a phone call home because he felt he could not or simply did not tell the truth.
But why should we expect our children to exhibit patters of honest when celebrities and politicians are on TV all the time telling lies. Take Barry Bonds, for instance. In 2003, Bonds was questioned about using steroids. Bonds was not on trial and was not going to necessarily be in trouble if he told the truth, but, in order to avoid embarrassment, he denied under oath that he ever used steroids. On November 15, 2007, Bonds was indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice and could face up to 30 years in prison. So why, when he had so little to gain and so much to lose, did Bonds find it so hard to simply tell the truth?
As with my student Dan, the truth always seems to come out and trouble is almost around the corner from a lie. So why do we find telling the truth so difficult? Is it because we are afraid to face the truth or because we want to appear to be more interesting or more important that we really? Thomas Jefferson said, “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual.” Often times when we tell a lie it snow balls into another lie, which becomes another lie, which leads to another lie. It reminds me of what someone once said: “it is easier to tell the truth, because then you never have to remember what you said.”
Imagine if we lived lives full of complete honesty and truth. James 5:12 says, “ But above all my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be “No.’…” God is basically asking us to live an incarnational life of honesty and integrity. Not only will you be more at peace, but as your conscience gets clearer, your relationships get deeper.
You see, If we mimic Christ in what we do and how we live and where we go and what we say, then phrases like, “I promise” or “I swear” become unnecessary. Our friends and our families will always know we are telling the truth to them. I don’t know about you, but that thought makes me feel very good.
Do you know someone who struggles to tell the truth?
How does this affect your friendship?
Got any good stories?