My friends in elementary school used to call it a “bald-faced lie.” That was pretty severe. It wasn’t till I got to middle school that I found out the term was really a “bold-face lie”. You know…the very bold, brash, in your face kind of untruth. When someone called you this, it was grounds for war, something on the level of “your mom wears combat boots” or “your daddy is so greasy that…” Small conflicts would break out over such accusations with alliances being formed and words being lobbed like hand grenades. No one–and I mean no one–should ever be considered a liar.
Imagine my surprise last night when I learned that the Washington Post has for some years carried a popular column entitled the “Fact Checker.” It is an attempt to point out the “bold-faced lies” that are told inside the Beltway of our nation’s capital. Interestingly enough, Glenn Kessler, the writer of the column says that for as long as he has written the column he’s had no problem finding material. Five days a week, 52 weeks a year, he’s bombarded with material for a column that is built on lies, so-to-speak. Each year, he gives out Pinocchio awards for the biggest lies of the year. Once again, with no lack of material to choose from, our President was selected for 3 of the top 10.
This isn’t a column to bash President Obama. To be sure, each week is filled with politicians of every ilk. My concern is what has happened to our culture when we no longer pay very much attention to the lies. Call them what you want–white lies, stretching the truth, bending the facts, untruths or…bold-faced lies–they are all wrong and unacceptable. Or…are they? Apparently, no one cares much about the lies any more. Athletes get away with it and sign bigger contracts. Politicians get away with it and get re-elected. Lawyers get away with it and win their cases. Spouses get away with it and get Lifetime movies. Teachers get away with it and maintain their tenure.
Meanwhile, in the Barron household, I’m still trying to teach my kids that truth matters. Don’t believe me? Ask any one of our children. If you’re late coming in from a friend’s house, you’ll get some trouble. If your grades are not what they should be, you’ll get a lecture. Tell me a lie, and daddy goes ballistic. I believe truth still matters. I believe there should be a punishment for those who willingly avoid the truth. From the school house to the White House, we’ve got to stop shrugging our shoulders when lies are uttered because a culture built on lies destroys trust and honor and integrity for everyone.
I remember the first house I bought back in 1996. I was amazed at the mound of paperwork that was required for such an undertaking. I joked with my friend who was our realtor by saying, “What ever happened to a man’s word and a handshake.” Sadly, he responded, “No one keeps their word any more. It gives the lawyers job security.”
Wow! It saddens me to think about where we’ve come from and how far we’ve slid down this slippery slope. I can only offer one solution. I must take care of me and mine. They may be the only ones who get this message (I know they aren’t because I have many friends who have the same core value of integrity for them and their families) but they will GET this message. Honesty matters. Lies hurt. Truth will be uncovered–now or later. And honesty is always the best policy. My mom was right when she uttered those words to me. So was Solomon when he said, “God cannot stomach liars; he loves the company of those who keep their word.” Proverbs 12:22 MSG
We’ve forgotten the 8th commandment. In so doing, we have torn, yet again, the moral fiber of a nation that was built on the ideals of a moral people. That can no longer be said of any of us. You see, when you lie–when I lie–I become a part of the problem. May you and I find a way to, instead, become a way to the solution.
Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:42-44 NLT