A few years ago, Connecticut’s Attorney General and US Senate candidate, Richard Blumenthal, was caught lying about his service in Viet Nam. According to reports, this wasn’t the first time he misspoke and allowed the myth of his wartime service to be spread unchecked. Once caught, Blumenthal back peddled, never labeled what he did a lie and became defensive with media. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine commented that Blumenthal’s actions were wrong, but shouldn’t hurt his run for office (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/23/tim-kaine-blumenthal-wron_n_586369.html).
How sad that grown men do not see lying as a problem of trust? How disturbing is it that telling lies should not impact a person’s run for political office? What kind of message do we send others about telling the truth? Isn’t lying one of the reasons Americans have lost trust in public officials? When we witness people saying whatever is necessary in order to get elected or pass their agendas, trust is lost. And trust is fundamental to any relationship.
On the one hand we teach our children that telling the truth is always the best option. In our family, if you told the truth, the consequence was less than if you lied. But what our children and teens witness through media is just the opposite -tell the truth only when it works for you. If you can get away with a lie, it is no big deal. If the end justifies the mean, than maybe lying is necessary. Yet, honesty is the foundation of building trust.
If you’ve been on the other side of a lie, you know how hurtful it is and how damaging the consequences can be. Trust is eroded, making relationships difficult. If you were caught in a lie, would you admit it, think it was no big deal, hope you got away with it or be repentant and try to quickly repair the damage?
Is it ever OK to lie? Given what our kids see in media, this is a discussion to have often, prompted by what they see in media and sports. What does God’s word say about lying? How important are relationships built on truth? We all make mistakes, but admitting to them is what brings repentance.
In your family, talk about how trust is built in relationships and how lying hurts people in the long run. It is tempting to lie, easy to do and often accepted or overlooked. But ultimately lies come back to us and hurt those involved.
Do you feel lying is more acceptable today and without consequences?