Who can you trust?
Last updated 8/6/2020 at 11:49pm
A number of years ago, on the way to work I would drive past a church that liked to put witty sayings on its sign. Sometimes they were corny, but there was one that really caught my eye. It said, “Get caught in one lie, and a thousand truths will be doubted.”
Do you have the reputation of being a teller of the truth? Do people trust what you say? Let’s take a few minutes to examine ways people may be guilty of not being truthful, even though not “technically” telling a lie.
We’re living in a time when many people wonder if they are getting “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” from the media and those in government. Which brings up the subject of President Abraham Lincoln, or, as people liked to refer to him, “Honest Abe.” Some may not have always agreed with him, but he was seldom accused of trying to deceive people. What a compliment. It’s been said that “It’s a greater compliment to be trusted than loved.”
Now there are blatant lies, then there are other ways to deceive people or cause them to believe something that’s not true, including calling in sick to work when you’re not; padding your expense account; cheating on a quiz at school or cheating on your income taxes. The Bible reminds us “Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor.”
Although not “technically” a lie, exaggeration is a common form of deception. It happens when you stretch the truth for the purpose of getting people to think more highly of you than is warranted. It may include exaggerating your wealth or your athletic achievements.
Other deceptions may include:
· Intentionally flattering someone to get something in return.
· Embellishing a story to make you look better.
· Misrepresenting the condition of a used car you’re attempting to sell.
· Making false promises that you know you can’t keep.
· Betraying a confidence when you promised not to tell anyone else.
· Remaining silent when a gossip is telling a malicious lie about another person… and you know it’s not true.
· Bragging about your accomplishments to boost your ego.
When people have to say, “Well, technically it’s not a lie,” I’ve found that it may not be a lie “technically,” but it sure leads other people to believe something that isn’t true. The Bible tells us to “speak the truth in love.” And that means to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes telling a partial truth may do the same damage as a whole lie.
The great English writer Samuel Johnson said this about misrepresenting the truth: “Accustom your children constantly to tell the truth. If a thing happened at one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them. You do not know where deviation from the truth will end… It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying that there is so much falsehood in the world. Truth demands a deliberate effort.”
Let’s close with a couple of insightful thoughts from Honest Abe: “I never encourage deceit and falsehood. It is the worst enemy a fellow can have, especially if you have a bad memory. The fact is that truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances are.”
Or to put it in simple language, “No person has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”