Thursday, May 27, 2010

What EXACTLY is a lie?

Eliminating information.
Lack of Integrity.

They all fall in the "untruth" category in my opinion. But some people seem to believe that leaving important information out of communication is not exactly a lie.

Is it?

I don't feel that I have to tell everyone everything, but there are some relationships that require the whole truth.

For example, my husband. If I went shopping and to lunch with a friend but told him that I only went to lunch - eliminating the shopping - I would consider that a lie. He probably would too.

I find myself thinking about this "idea" quite a bit the past few weeks. My son recently had to fill out paperwork for security clearance to get an internship with a federal law enforcement agency. I found myself asking him if he left anything off. Had he given all the information? If anything had been left out, I was concerned it would look like he was trying to cover up. But isn't that why we leave out information, generally? To cover up? When my children would over hear me on the phone with a confidant, sharing my parenting woes, they would become embarrassed by my sharing of their unacceptable behavior. I always told them they better not do anything they didn't want anyone to know about because it would always get found out. Matthew 10:26 says, "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."
I think my son is grateful for having taken that advice to heart; he passed the security clearance.
There is someone I know who has had a difficult time being totally honest with me. Because of this little flaw in our relationship, I find myself in the position of deciding just how intimate I am willing to be with her. Honestly, (pun intended) I am leaning toward love and grace but not close for now. It is difficult to be truly close to someone who is, quite simply, not honest.

And of course, as God would have it, I have had several reminders from His word about honesty and integrity. I hope it is his way of saying that I am not off my rocker to expect people in my close circle to be honest with me. So, I move forward, keeping my eyes on Him and being acutely aware of my own integrity.

When I was a child, I got in trouble quite often for lying. I remember someone (was it my mother???) telling me that if I lied as a child, it would be something I would battle forever. Whoever shared those words of wisdom - they stuck. I did not want to be known as a "liar", so I stopped. Just stopped. Not perfectly and all at once but I tried to be aware of the times I was tempted to wriggle out of something by not being honest, or even not stating the whole truth. My friends will now tell you that I am crazy honest, sometimes to the point of too much information.

(I have found honesty to be a challenge while job hunting for a different job while currently employed. Is there a clause for this case?)

Anyway, in my adult life, I have been face to face with some situations that I found it very difficult to be honest. And when was it okay to not be honest? And some of those situations were very tough. What do you do when you know that a pastor is verbally abusive? Or dishonest about money? It looks cut and dry (go to the church leadership), but it is not always that easy.
The difference between strict confidentiality and dishonesty sometimes is gray to me.

Thankfully, God's word is very clear on honesty. I will continue to go to His word, the ultimate authority, when I ask these questions.

Being honest is not always easy. As a Christian, I know how easy it is to fall into sin. Therefore, I need to work at being truthful, and it is work. The world does not give me or you easy situations, and sometimes we need to really work to keep our eyes on God in order to find the answers. Being honest can sometimes hurt, but knowing that you are following what God wants for you will make you more faithful in the end.

Luke 16:10 - "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (NIV)

1 Timothy 1:19 - "Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." (NLT)

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