“Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.” Edmund Burke
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” William Faulkner
“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” Fvodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
I love truthtellers.
I know what you are thinking….”No one likes a liar. Of course you love truthtellers, Kim.” But I think it’s an area that has gotten pretty grey.
It’s easy to define one kind of lie. That blatant, outright statement that can be easily proven to be right or wrong. Evidence can be produced, people can be confronted. There is admission of guilt. Judge and jury can make their pronouncements.
But then there is the other side of the coin. The statements that are the truth technically, but sanitized. The lies that are told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or to avoid confrontation. The truth that is only told in part. The truths left unsaid. Things told as truth that are really lies.
We’ve become a sensitive people. Oh, I don’t know about you, but I always have been the sensitive type, even though I simultaneously have a much thicker skin than most, and a selectively short memory. I have learned to let myself feel what I feel, but then I analyze it as quickly as possible to figure out if my sensitivity isn’t sharper than it needs to be. Too often it is. Oh, sometimes the slights and digs are there….but I have learned with time they are often more about the person dishing them out than they are about me. There’s much I need to discard as soon as I realize it is garbage. And none of us can get through life without producing some garbage….so we need to give folks some grace.
I notice a difference in my relationships with unvarnished truthtellers, though. I trust them more. They may hurt my feelings on a few more occasions than those who lie to spare me, but I never have to question where I stand with them. I don’t have to wonder “So what aren’t they saying? What is being implied here?” They are a simple people…it’s on the table. Their truthtelling gives me a security I can count on.
In this world of information, people often get confused. Or simply don’t care. They pass on information as truth when it isn’t. This causes me all kinds of agony. You see this as relationships break up and one side is louder than the other. People form opinions without knowing all there is to know….and you seldom know all there is to know. Just because you like someone, just because you love someone, doesn’t mean their side of the story is fair. And if another person is involved, even if you don’t like them, it doesn’t mean they are 100% in the wrong. Take care before you throw yourself into that pile-on. Really….do you need to be there?
Facebook is an easy place to see the concept at work. People pass on information as fact, without taking five minutes to consider whether what they’re passing on is truth or fiction. (So sorry for those of you who missed out on Mark Zuckerberg’s money. OK really, I am not. If you would have read his Facebook page you would have known the real story. He and his wife Priscilla are giving away lots and lots of money and it’s pretty cool. Bu he didn’t mention you as a recipient.) People continue to share missing children or animals that have already been found (or were never really missing in the first place). Why is that a big deal, you ask? Because it keeps focus off problems that are really going on. Plus there are sensitive people out there who obsess about this kind of information. People pass on the lies that fill the Snopes database as unproven. If you pass these things on without checking them out, you are simply spreading lies.
I admittedly can be a bit judge-y in this area, because if you treat the truth as unimportant in small things, it’s an easy step to telling lies about big things. And let me say that I still love you liars…. because we all have been there, either on purpose or by accident.
But yes….I really love the truthtellers. The people who honor and respect truth. Those who care about the integrity of the information they pass on. Those who will face a bit of confrontation to stand up for what they really think, who will take a few minutes to research before they believe anything that is said, posted, or printed, Those who simply keep their nose out of other people’s business when they are not involved in a situation, because they know life has layers. Truthtellers know truth matters…and know that how they handle it says who they are. Or maybe it just has never occurred to them to lie.
For the record truthtellers, I think I know who you are. I watch for you carefully. And I thank you for what you do. You seem to be rarer every day, but you are the folks I want to emulate. You are the ones I trust the most.