The truth will find you out. No matter how many times a lie is told, the truth does not go away. It patiently waits for TIME to erode the ragged edges of deceit until the truth is revealed.
When my daughter was young, she tried to convince me that our cat had wet her bed. She could not see how silly her little white lie sounded. When I reminded her that the cat had been outside all night, she informed me that he had pulled off the screen, sneaked into her room, wet her bed, and then jumped back out the window.
She saw me staring at the window and quickly added that the cat had “paws’d” on his way out to put the screen back on. When she finally confessed, she learned there was no penalty for wetting the bed, but there was a premium on telling the truth.
The media is constantly abuzz with the consequences that come to people who are untruthful. Good leaders and mentors place high value on the truth. The legal system qualifies it perfectly, though it rarely practices it perfectly.
Tell The truth
There is no such thing as an accidental lie. Before every statement we make, there is a decisive moment. In that moment we have the choice to cover up, save face, or face the music and tell the truth. Choosing to lie in that moment can unleash pain and heartache far beyond the consequences that might come from telling the truth.
The whole truth
If there is anything that destroys credibility more than lying, it is the slow leaking of only enough truth to resolve the immediate conflict. A life of deceit cannot be corrected by the confession of a single indiscretion that has been discovered. A lawyer might call this damage control, but forgiveness offered for a single offense will evaporate when the rest of the truth becomes known. Telling the whole truth may bring dire consequences, but it is also the only way to experience complete forgiveness and restore trust in a relationship. It is also the only way to free oneself from the paralyzing guilt that comes with living a lie.
Nothing but the truth
Exaggerating the truth is a lie. I know, because I do this for a living. The difference is that my audience knows I am lying and laughs with me at the ridiculous notion of this kind of lie. But when the truth is exaggerated in a deceitful effort to give it more credibility, it is no longer the truth and loses all credibility. In this case world laughs at you instead of with you.
I say, “I ran 10 miles yesterday.”
In reality I only ran 8 but 10 sounds better than 8.
Isn’t 8 miles almost 10 miles?
What’s the difference?
The difference came in that decisive moment, when my brain sent the word “eight” to my lips and my lips decided ten would be more impressive. It’s not a slip of the tongue. In that moment I chose to lie.
A boss called one of his employees into the office and asked. “Do you believe in life after death?”
“Yes sir,” the clerk replied.
“That’s good,” the boss said. “After you left early yesterday to go to your grandmother’s funeral, she stopped in to see you.”
I have suffered the consequences of telling the truth, and of telling lies. Both are painful. One leads to freedom and the other to bondage. The choice is made in a single moment. Living with a lie is like running a race with an anchor tied around your neck. Know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Has your life ever been affected by a lie?
Have you ever witnessed the freedom that comes with telling the truth?