Monday, August 9, 2010

Integrity and the Conflicts Thereof

Having been a liar with great skill, I began to see how much it was affecting my family and the life I was living. It wasn't until I got caught in a big lie that I realized just how much damage I could do with a simple fabrication of the truth. After that I began to practice telling the truth even when it meant incriminating myself in the process. Over time I began to tell the truth as if I knew nothing else and even when I tried to lie I found myself struggling not to correct myself and speak the truth.

Eventually, I ran into conflicts where I began to speak the truth, but only the portions I wanted the other person to know. I began to ask myself whether this is also lying or if I'm simply being selective in my presentation of the facts. The distinction is whether or not by withholding particular portions of the truth does it lead the other person to believe something that it is not true? If the answer is yes, then it would appear that lying and omitting the whole truth are synonymous; lying by omission. What about simply not speaking? Certainly there cannot be any damage done by not answering at all. In fact, there is, as by not answering you're causing both confusion and if you have nothing to do with the issue in question, but prefer not answer then you're going to leave the other person with no other choice to assume that you are guilty/responsible for whatever they inquire of you.

The problem is that this world cannot handle the truth. (Cue Jack Nicholson clip from A Few Good Men.) There are circumstances in which presenting the whole truth can be more damaging than maintaining integrity. It's especially difficult when being honest could result in the harm of another person, which is something that most people cannot bear to live with. So how can we reconcile the difference between being a person of integrity versus being selectively truthful for our own benefit? For me, it would appear that outright lying may not be acceptable under any circumstances, but withholding the whole truth may be advantageous for the purpose of protecting another person is the most minor hit to your integrity.

I believe that there is no gray areas in life, only a very fine line between black and white. I also believe that God looks at our hearts and does not judge us based on our standards of honesty because He sees so much deeper than we do. Therefore, even though we may be at ease with passing the half-truth off as the real deal, God may see it as sinful all the same. We cannot allow ourselves to forget that it is not only our conscience we must satisfy, but the God who brings us to conviction also looks on us with a desire for us to be pure and spotless since we no longer have an excuse to be like the world.

Until next time,
De Facto

1 comment:

  1. There's a ficitonal book called "No More Dead Dogs" by Gordan Korman where the main character ALWAYS tells the truth because his dad was a habitual liar and he never wanted to become like his father. It does get him in trouble sometimes because he has a blunt way about expressing the truth.
    I feel like there is a measure of tact that can be used when telling the truth ... and I definitely have found situations that speaking seemed worse then keeping silent.