When was the last time you felt like telling the truth would not be comfortable?
All of us are in situations sometimes when it is convenient to mislead someone else, resulting in a gain for ourselves. Maybe it’s saving face, keeping more money, or appearing better then someone else.
But is it worth it? We need to recognize that even little, possibly half-lies come with a price.
Telling the truth is the basis of communication. In other words, for any message, for any words to work at all, people involved need to believe that words mean something, and specifically, that they mean what we think they mean. Otherwise, the message is meaningless.
As soon as you start telling lies, you start breaking down that structure. This is how it works in practice – let’s say you know a person, and you talk to them. One time you tell them one thing and mean another, they may be confused. The second time you twist words to your own advantage they may be hurt. By the third time they may expect you not to mean what you say. It may not happen that quick, and assuming you say some truths in between the lies, you may not completely destroy trust, but it will be shaky.
However, other’s trust is not the only reason we should be honest. We see others through our own selves. If we often say things we don’t mean it is also very hard to trust others, even if they don’t give reason for doubt. For someone who has problems being honest, building reliable relationships is nearly impossible.
Another side effect of misleading or deceiving others, is the fracturing of the person’s own character. The distance between what the person said, and what they know to be true leaves a feeling of strain in the person’s mind, a strain that if they refuse to deal with, accumulates with each added lie.
The reality is that all of us have mislead others, and have been deceived too. We know that we often fall short of a truly honest life. What shall we do?
The answer, as I see it, is a constant renewal of the mind. Center your mind on Christ daily, and when your values align with God’s, you’ll find lies less tempting. Also, apologize – or acknowledge to those you’ve deceived, what you’ve done. And forgive others as you wish to be forgiven. Finally, remember, that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin!
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. – Ephesians 4:25