Lies                                                April 2019

I was ten years old when it happened.  On Saturdays at the Mission Theater in Fallbrook, the Mitterlings, who owned it, hosted the PTA matinee for us kids.  It cost 25 cents, and candy was a dime; a coke was too.  I guess David got in but didn’t have any money for treats.  I was flush with cash and loaned him 15 cents.  “I will pay you back next week,” David lied to me. He never paid me back.

Though this is an important question, I don’t think I’m going to be able to answer it perfectly. The Book tells us not to lie. Yet there are times when I wonder.

For example, if Oskar Schindler had answered, ” Are you hiding Jews in your house?” depending on how he responded, it would’ve meant the deaths of people that he cared for.

As you can see, this may have been a time when God did not want him to tell the truth. Almost every day there comes a moment when I am tempted to exaggerate or shadow the truth rather than saying something outright. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to hurt someone. Other times it’s because I want to create an advantage for myself. It could be done quite easily with just one word selected differently from another word.

Mark Twain said, “When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”

At other times we are capable of a lie by omission.  Someone asked me what happened, but I only told him part of the story. I liken this to a basketball and a basketball hoop. If the hoop were five feet across anyone could be successful in getting the ball through it. Since the hoop is only slightly larger than the ball, it takes great talent to get it where it needs to go. For me the truth is like the hoop because it is fixed and does not change. The ball is symbolic of my attitude about telling it. If the attitude does not match the truth, it doesn’t line up and score.   There is a very narrow tolerance, isn’t there?

At compound interest, David would now owe me $3.04 these 60 years later. I have forgiven his debt.  The lie breached my young trust in the value of friendship.  What is the ultimate cost of a lie?



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