THE TRUTH ABOUT LYING
MANILA, APRIL 1, 2006 (STAR) GUIDELINES FOR FINDING YOUR WAY By Dr. Harold J. Sala - "And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles."- 1 Timothy 2:7
Is it ok to lie when you are protecting someone? Is a lie only as bad or as wrong as the harm it may do to someone? David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values says, "What disturbs me is people are now trying to make distinctions between types of lies, some are pardonable, and some are not. The mere act of lying is not enough for censure."
A generation ago I had a heated conversation with my father who had been a loyal and avid supporter of Richard Nixon. It was during the time of the Watergate investigation when Nixon was suspected of departing from his Quaker upbringing and developing a major problem in telling the truth. I remember saying, "Dad, this man is lying. They’ve caught him red-handed." Not wanting to admit defeat my dad conceded, "Ok, so the Republicans are liars, and the Democrats are liars, too–only the Republicans are better liars." Who is the better liar today may be hard to determine. The fact is lying has become endemic in society. It has become so common and so prevalent that no longer do we feel any obligation to censure or condemn someone for lying. We are willing to do that only if someone is badly hurt as the result of it.
Mary McNamara, a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, says, "People lie on their resumes, their tax returns, and certainly on first dates. We lie about our age, our income, our marital status, and the number of times we have seen "Titanic". Big ones, little ones shimmering by in deepening shades of gray. We have made lying an industry–lobbyists, diplomats, lawyers, salesmen, advertisers–those are just a few folks who, many would argue, are essentially paid to lie."
Is she right? Unfortunately, it seems so. Yet you still feel it unconscionable if a doctor lies to you, or your contractor lies to you about the amount of concrete which went into the foundation of your home, or a merchant lies to you about the quality of merchandise you bought from him, or your employees lies to you about his expense account, or your husband lies to you about the woman in his office who went to the convention with him.
If you are on a losing end of the lie, you don’t like that. But is a lie wrong only if you get hurt because of it? Some would says so. In fact, the reticence of the general public in saying, "This is wrong. This man is lying to us," is a reflection of their own moral condition, which makes them hesitant to condemn in others that which they tolerate in their own lives.
You know what the problem is, but what can be done about it? Few acknowledge the correlation between society. The farther away we are from God and the principles of Christianity, the greater will be the moral deception and dishonesty confronting us. May God help us to go back to the drawing board and teach by our example that no matter what others may do, we by God’s grace and help will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Resource reading: Joshua 9:1-18
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