Just Admit It Already. You Lied. On Purpose.

May 19, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

Quick show of hands.  Who here has ever said something that wasn’t true?  Good.  How many people here have ever told a lie?  Hopefully, we still have everyone.  Who has ever told a lie on purpose?  Ok.  Here is the big one.  Who has ever told a lie on purpose because we wanted the person/people hearing to believe something that wasn’t true, we wanted to deceive them and make ourselves look better in some way?  Reread that if you said no and try again.  Here is one more.  How many would do it again in a heartbeat if you thought you would get away with it?

I don’t care what you are telling yourself.  All of us on occasion, and on more occasions than we care to admit, say something deceptive on purpose to get away with something, inflate ourselves, hide, etc.  It shouldn’t be that way but it is.  The question for this post is “What do we do when we are caught?”  The way I see it we have two basic approaches that we can take.

1) The “safe” “smart” poltical approach.  You will excuse me if your party affiliation lines up with the most recent example of (nerd alert) political obfuscation.  This is meant by no means to characterize one party as the obfuscating (I will say that word as many times now as I can) and the other party as the party of virtue.  I won’t take the position that “they all do it.”  They don’t all do it, but plenty from every party do.  Disclaimer over.  A politician who served in the guard and was stationed stateside during Vietnam time period has been caught saying he served in Vietnam.  Let’s assume for a second that it was a complete accident.  If that had happened to me I would have said, “Dude, (I always say dude) I meant to say during.  I said in.  My bad.  I’m sorry.”  Here is what we got

“On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that. I take full responsibility,”

“But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country,”

Did he say it on purpose?  Did he intentionally blur the truth in the moment?  What is the full responsibility you are taking if no one can hold you accountable for those words?  If it was an accident, say it was.  (Sidebar.  Isn’t it interesting that we only accidentally say hurtful things about other people and helpful things about us.  I have never accidentally told someone to punch me in the face.  Although there are many times, I have tried to convince my wife that some hurtful things I said to her were accidental.)  If it wasn’t, please just say it that it wasn’t.  He won’t.  No politician ever will.  We have created a culture where vulnerability, transparency and humility are vices not virtues.  Which leads to the 2nd approach.

2) The humble, Biblical way.  What if we all decided that we would just be honest when caught in a lie.  What if we decided that we would be humble, admit our weaknesses and confess to each other?  What would happen if we lost this pressure to be perfect and stopped pretending to be perfect to each other?  We could then pray for each other, encourage other, be honest and build real trust with each other.

What if a politician said this?  “I’m sorry.  I exaggerated.  I shouldn’t have.  I served during Vietnam and I thought that was close enough to being true.  Really, though, I was exaggerating for effect to make my point sound better and make me look better.  I shouldn’t have done that.  Forgive me.”

Well, Cloften, that is the stupidest thing that I have ever heard.  Who in their right mind would say that?  His opponents would jump on him and say that he is not trustworthy.  Can you imagine the political ads they would run?  He would lose everything and be done in poltics.  He would lose it all, and what would he gain?