Little Dark Lies

“White lies are harmless as long as you use good judgment.”
“You may tell a white lie to avoid discussion. But that only breeds mistrust and distance.”

These quotes from two marriage and family experts appeared in the article “’Fess up or Fib?” by Jessica Yadegaran in the Contra Costa Times on January 6, 2010. Which expert is right?

Lying is so easy. If I lie about my mistakes, I avoid the consequences. One little white lie about a friend’s new outfit and I make her happy. Conceal a purchase from my husband and he won’t lecture me about my spending habits. A well-told lie can make life feel smooth.

But lying becomes a habit. We feel more comfortable making mistakes, knowing we can talk our way out of them. Underlying issues grow in magnitude as necessary conflict is put off. Then we’re caught in a bald-faced lie, and trust is shattered. And trust shattered is not easily glued back together.

Truth is hard. But truth is right. Truth means owning up to our mistakes. Truth means finding a creative way to compliment a friend even if we don’t care for her fashion sense. Truth means opening up to those we love, exposing ourselves to the pain of conflict—and to growth.

Let’s look to the only Expert who matters. God never condones lying, even little white lies. Rather, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12: 22). The story of Jacob and Rebekah deceiving Isaac for his blessing shows the disastrous results of lying—anger, threatened murder, and a family fractured.

As in most things, God calls us to the difficult road. Truth requires humility, creativity, and hard work. But it’s always worth it.