Monday, May 05, 2008

a forked tongue

How often do you lie?

Seriously, though, how often? I was kind of a goody-two-shoes in high school, so I never lied about staying out or who I was with. Well, except that once when my grandmother was in town and I convinced her that my folks were okay with my going on a 5-hour picnic date with my new boyfriend that they had never met. Yeah. But I’m not a big liar—I can’t. I get guilty when I tell big lies and it’s obvious to everyone. Little ones, though… “I really can’t make it.” “You look great in that dress.” “I’m actually helping the sweat-shop worker by purchasing her product.” Those I tell all the time. It’s easy. I know what I want, and I go after it. Even with a little falsehood.

I just read The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible—at one point, he get’s caught in his truth. His toddler son wants English muffin for breakfast. They’re out. Mom says, “tell him the bagel’s an English muffin—it worked yesterday.” Dad says, “I can’t tell a lie. Little buddy, it’s a bagel and it’s delicious.” Toddler son wants none of it and throws a tantrum. So should he lie to his son? I don’t know. It’s a sticky area, but I do know that lies can destroy relationships. There is no trust. There is no connection. There is no love. And when I get away with a lie, I frequently feel crappy about myself, like there’s a stain in me.

What do you think?


Bonnie said...

I gotta say, I'm not entirely sure I know how often I lie. Not very often if you go with the definition "you know it's one thing and say another". But I do often say something is true, when I'm not 100% certain that it is. I also, in some circumstances, refrain from saying something unpopular - even when directly asked my opinion - kind of just mutter something non-verbal or something. But those seem to fall into a grey category of "something else"s. In the end, I'd say a good number of my lies are almost unknowing. But then, if you don't know you're doing it, is it a lie?

Papa said...

In recent years I find myself saying less. Hard to believe, huh, Alice? Rather than utter the false positives or disagree, I just try to look wise!