After hearing a speech in the House of Commons, Winston Churchill remarked, “I should think it hardly possible to state the opposite of the truth with more precision.”
Whether lies are told with precision or ambiguity, they’ll eventually be exposed. The truth is sometimes painful but welcome compared to that sick, sinking realization that you’ve been had by a liar.
As Matthew, age 10, painfully discovered: “I lied to my brother once, and I got beat up for it. Please don’t lie.”
“People need to know the truth whether they like it or not,” says Conner, 6. “Life is not easy.”
You’re right, Conner, but sometimes, they’re not ready for it. A commitment to tell the truth doesn’t obligate you to open your mouth every time you have a truthful thought.
Jesus said, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” Have you ever seen a pig wearing a pearl necklace? People who enjoy wallowing in the mud of self-deception are not ready for your pearls of truth and wisdom.
Jesus also said, “Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.” In the Arizona desert, I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. It was coiled, ready and waiting to strike. Be alert, and wait for the right moment to speak truth into someone’s life.
“If somebody asks you if she looks nice in a super-dirty, ugly and disgusting dress, you should say she’s pretty,” says Jonathan, 12. It’s very tempting to lie when asked about someone’s appearance. Though it may seem like a small thing, it damages your integrity and your commitment to the truth.
Let’s get some help from Hannah, 12: “If my friend wore this really weird outfit to a party, and she asked me if I liked it, I would tell her that I liked another dress she had better.”
“If someone asks you if they look good, and they really don’t, you should tell them so that they won’t be embarrassed,” says Jacky, 12.
Hannah’s answer is diplomatic but true. Jacky’s answer indicates she probably has a close relationship with her friend. We should prefer unpleasant truth from those who love us over pleasing flattery from those who would manipulate us.
Remember this wise truth: “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise,” says Proverbs 17:28 (NASB).
“Speaking the truth in love,” as the Bible advocates, doesn’t demand one style of speaking. Tough love sometimes requires drastic language and measures. It also requires discernment.
To the religious leaders who brought a woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).
Before Jesus answered the woman’s accusers, the Bible records that he “stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.”
Just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer. Of course, if the person asking has authority over you, as in the case of a parent, boss or police officer, you should answer quickly and truthfully.
“God would want you to tell the truth no matter what happens,” says Blake, 12. “Because you get paddled or something doesn’t mean anything because Jesus had to suffer on the cross.”
Think about this: Make a commitment to speak the truth in love.
Memorize this truth: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).
Ask this question: Is your speech seasoned with truth and grace?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING