Many years ago a relative shared the story about her little girl who at school lunch one day, was playing and careless, causing her thermos to fall to the floor, shattering the inside. When she came home that night, the daughter told her mom the thermos was broken because her friend took it and while she had it, dropped it. The mom asked the girl if the teacher took care of it and her daughter said, no, the teacher didn’t care. The mom of course, contacted the teacher via a note with some questions. The teacher responded with complete surprise, saying she didn’t know anything about it. As the story unraveled, the mom felt awful for her immediate reaction of annoyance at the teacher, since she finally learned the truth, that her own little daughter was responsible for the broken thermos. And worse, her daughter lied trying to cover up the incident and finally for the problems the little girl caused for her dishonesty.
The little girl in the anecdote is just a small example of how skewed our minds can become if we first begin to be dishonest. Once the little girl told the original lie, she had to continue telling untruths to make her story work. The only thing is she didn’t account for her mother’s reaction and actions of the tale! In her mind, she must have just assumed her mother would believe her (which she did at first), without further questions!
Our world seems overrun with untruths. It seems a day doesn’t pass when there isn’t at least a question regarding something said, printed or seen on television or the Internet. It’s become so prevalent, there are sites like snopes.com for email scams and hoaxes, FactCheck.org for political checking, OpenSecrets.org for elections and public policy, TruthOrFiction.com for email virus warnings, rumors and more; and Hoax-Slayer designed for email and Internet scams.1
What does this say about our society? The follow up question is what does this teach our young people? Our youth spend more time on the computer than my generation ever did. They’ve grown up with technology as the “norm” in their lives. If there is a need for such fact checking on so many levels, aren’t we teaching our children it’s okay to lie, as long as you don’t get caught!?
Satan was the first deceiver and the consequences of believing his lie were dire. It’s no different now than then. Every lie requires a consequence. As the lie grows and gets more complicated, the consequence gets bigger. The only way to avoid such issues is to be honest in the first place. Openness, clarity and truthfulness are the means to having peace rather that gut feeling that one day, the truth is going to come out and we’re going to have to pay!
Just as the little girl above had to finally deal with punishment that would likely not have been anywhere near as severe, or not happened at all, had she just told the truth up front. It was an accident. Yes, she probably would have had to admit, she was careless, but nonetheless, it remained an accident. As it was, her lie grew and involved other people who were not responsible and she was indeed found out!
So I challenge you this week to think twice before you share a story, or believe one! Is what you are hearing, reading and sharing the absolute truth?