Updated: Sep 28, 2020
“I swear! I swear on a stack of Bibles, I’m telling the truth! Cross my heart and hope to die, I am not lying to you.” You’ve either heard it or said it yourself. In either case, you know it was bovine-defecation. Fraudulence, deceit, duplicity, deception, subterfuge . . . chose your term. In short, bald-faced lying.
Dishonesty is part of the human condition. Very few children escape the lying stage. Many grow out of it; many seem to coddle it all their lives. Some are excused as “little white lies,” and others are genuine whoppers. The difference, I suppose, is in the quantity and quality of the consequence of a given falsehood. But the fact of the matter is: lies are lies; dishonesty is dishonesty.
Dishonesty has occasioned everything from being fired to launching a war. I would posit that one of the most – perhaps the most – deleterious consequences of dishonesty is the breakdown of relationships. A genuine, deep relationship is always built on trust. Not being able to trust someone means that the relationship will be contaminated by doubt, suspicion, and uncertainly.
Many years ago I discovered that one of my young children was lying to me. In discussing that fact, I told the child that if I thought that he/she would ever lie to me it meant I could never be sure if I was being told the truth. A person can swear on a ten-foot stack of Bibles that what’s coming out of their mouth is the truth. But if I suspect that person would ever lie to me, he/she might as well be swearing on a stack of Archie comic books.
Relationships are the stuff of life. I say again: the vital stuff of life. And relationships not built on trust aren’t worth a wooden nickel. Shakespeare penned it: “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” And along with losing one’s self goes the loss of everyone else.