Back erect, face shining with satisfaction, my friend strode toward me. “How do you like it?” she asked, as she tossed her head. Her wispy hair sort of flopped across her face. “Isn’t it just like the TV ad for that shampoo, where the woman lets her hair swing freely?”
No, I thought, not really. Yes, you needed to cut off your thin lanky hair that never looked washed. But cut off short so it could frame your face. This just makes your face look long and horsey. Will I lie, and say, “you look beautiful”, or will I tell the truth?
As a child I learned about the Ten Commandments. God’s ten special laws were carved in stone. I knew a stone once broken could not be repaired without at least a big scar. As a teenager, I learned that lying meant loss of trust. Repairing that trust left a big scar in me, as well as in my parents. In time I developed the habit of answering a direct question with the truth, the whole truth, even when I knew I’d be in trouble.
Today, truthfulness is one of my core values. I don’t want to succumb even to the “little white lies” told because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Therefore, on this particular day I bought myself some time by saying, “Turn around. Let me see the back.” She twirled. I thought. Once again, her excited eyes met mine. I pasted on a smile and offered, “Wow, what a chic haircut. It must be a big change. What gave you the courage to cut off your long hair?” Happily, she told me all the details. Twirling a second time, she danced off to someone else.
I heaved a sigh of relief. I knew it wasn’t necessary to ruin her joy and yet, I also know that it’s the tiny steps we take that carry us off in a direction we don’t want to go. Little white lies, become lies of expediency, become the end justifies the means, become intentional deceit, become…We can always find a reason to avoid being truthful. Therefore, I encourage you to keep the commandment, “Thou shalt not lie.”
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)