My new boss wanted me to lie for him.
It was simple stuff, like telling his callers he wasn't there when he really just didn't want to take the call. And it was my first week on the job, for which I'd only been hired on a trial basis. What if he fired me? But even though I was just a secretary, I still couldn't lie. It felt wrong.
Why was I making such a big deal out of it? It stemmed from a concept about God I'd always held dear -- not that God is a big person up in the sky who will get mad at me if I lie, but that God is Truth itself. And this happened at a time in my life when I really needed to feel my connection with God, Truth, consistently. Without that connection, I'd soon drown in the responsibilities I had. In order to keep that life-line alive, I'd have to live up to my commitment to Truth. To me, this translated into strict honesty.
My irritated boss was convinced I was just being unreasonable. And when I tried to look at things from his point of view, I could see his point -- if I strictly only always told the truth about him, there was a lot of damage I could do. With his temper occasionally flaring up, I could see I'd have to do more. In order to keep to my standard of honesty, I would have to bring something else to the table.
In order to keep my job, I would have to demonstrate to my boss that honesty was not just some ideal I was sticking to, but something I was doing out of respect for him and for the company. I had to show over time that, in effect, I was doing it out of love.
Wow, this wasn't always easy. He had a short-term need for me to cover for him, and I didn't know if the long-term benefits of my integrity would show in time. One day, though, I hit on the idea of not actually saying he wasn't there (when he really was) but instead saying as graciously as possible, "He's unavailable right now. May I take a message for you and be sure he gets back to you as soon as possible?"
At first, my boss thought this would reflect badly on him. But when he saw that the callers responded favorably to my politeness and respect, he agreed that I could work the phones that way.
In the coming months, I worked hard to be reliable to him in all ways, not just in answering the phone. I proved that I could be discrete while still being truthful. As the months went by, he began to appreciate the honesty and care behind the refusal to be dishonest. We even started to joke about my keeping him in line.
Ultimately, I was the person he always came to when wanting to know "exactly what's going on around here!" And when another employee was having a problem with chronic lying, I was made his supervisor. I taught him what I knew about telling the truth, and his performance -- and reputation -- quickly turned around.
You may want more honesty in your life. Because Truth and Love are right there with you, you've got what you need to act on it.