What is it about telling a lie that seems to gnaw at us over and over again until we need to unburden our souls by telling the truth. I believe we are wired to tell the truth and when we lie, we prostitute our minds and very humanness. It just doesn’t “feel” right and you know it. I know professional liars and probably you do to. These are the folks who have lying down to an art. They can look you in the eye, smile and tell you a whopper. Eventually, though as they get older, the lies come back and bite them on the bum.
I think though, for you and I, trying our best to tell the truth has a lot to do with (1) what we think of ourselves and (2) how we think the other person will take the truth. The first issue deals with our reflected image, god bad or whatever. This is the image that has been given back to us by our parents, teachers and friends and ultimately, ourselves. Take a minute to think about your reflected image. Is it true? Does it give a true insight into what kind of a person you are? Is it authentic? Do you say to yourself, “You wouldn’t say that if you really knew me.” And if this is true, why don’t “they” know you.
A real self-image is tricky to discern. More often than not, what we do or how we act determines what kind of a person we (and others) think we are. That, I believe is a false image. What you do or how you act maybe an indication, but it is not the whole story. An alcoholic can be vicious or rude or disgusting. Is that the person or is that the addiction? What happens when he doesn’t drink? “Fred is such a loving father…when he’s sober.” So, for me actions and behavior compel me to want to know more about the real person. I don’t think we can absolutely know who we are unless we understand that we are loved unconditionally by G-d. Love gives us a dimension and substance that simple acting or doing, doesn’t. From that simple understanding flows truth. I guess it is a matter of belief. A person who does evil things is not necessarily evil. Even in his evil deeds he is still loved by G-d. To us? not so much. But that isn’t the point. Either you believe it or you don’t.
The second point of how we think the other person will take the truth is completely out of our hands if we are honest about it. Not all of us have the skill of words, the gift of gab. We do the best we can so adding “Now don’t get me wrong but…” to soften the perceived blow of the truthful information is a little disingenuous to say the least. Time and setting is everything when speaking truth as well as being descriptive rather than being evaluative. For example if your good friend breathes on you and asks you “Is my breath bad?” the normal reaction when we don’t want to hurt them is, “No it’s not so bad” when we really want to say “Honey, your breath could knock buzzards off a shit wagon.” Knowing the audience and respecting them would help smooth over a lack of eloquence so that your point can be made.
Finally, ‘fessing up is one of the hardest thing to do. Telling the truth about something you did or caused. This is where true honesty comes into play and everything above sorts itself out. “Did you chop down the cherry tree?” “Yes I did, with my little hatchet.” Then you can go on to become president. The passage “…and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32) makes a ton o’ sense in a world which is bound by outright lies and half-truths. Telling the truth is a human responsibility we should not take lightweight for for convenience purposes. It resonates in our very fiber. Being authentic human beings unconditionally loved by God means facing the truth, speaking the truth, and recognizing the truth.
And so it goes…