Honesty is the best policy.
I have heard that saying from before I can remember. It is a truth of the utmost importance. Dishonesty only brings heartache. Lies birth more lies until the liar has trouble telling the difference between the lie and the truth. Our Heavenly Father reiterates this truth throughout scripture. I'm sure many verses come to your mind regarding false witness, rumors, and breaking oaths. No one disagrees that telling a falsehood is sin.
The flip side to this line of thinking is the damaging nature of raw truth. Have you ever wished you had been lied to, because the truth hurt so much? Many years ago I had a very unattractive girl very attracted to me. She was the clingy type and I had to make it clear I was not interested. I could have been absolutely honest and told her she was fat and ugly. Instead I told her I did not have "peace" about starting a relationship with her, but she was a lovely girl and I was sure God would bring the right guy into her life. I lied. The peace thing had absolutely nothing to do with it and she wasn't a lovely girl!
Could telling the truth ever be more sinful than telling a lie?
The unremarkable girl aforementioned left disappointed but not crushed. Had I told her the truth she surely would have been devastated. Our Lord stated "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt 23:19). Kindness is at the heart of the second greatest commandment. Wouldn't that make unkindness a greater sin than untruthfulness?
Let's not forget the times we lie without even thinking. Every morning at 7:00 when I get to work I am greeted by Mrs. Louise, the most cheerful old receptionist you have ever met. She never fails to ask me how I am doing. Its 7:00 in the morning! I'm barely alive! I feel bad on a good morning. Somehow I always manage an exuberant Great! Or Wonderful! Another lie.
Now, I know that it is just a cultural greeting, but I did just say something that was untrue. If I were to tell the truth I would tell her how poor I felt or how tired I was. However, that would be discouraging and complaining. We've all met people who actually tell you how they are feeling and we avoid them. So, is it a sin to be positive when you feel negative?
Most would agree that not telling the whole truth is a lie. Leave out one detail to a story and it can change dramatically. Those of you who have children see this often. Adults regularly do this also. Ever been on a job interview? If you are like me you show the interviewer your best side, while hiding your dirty little secrets. Is this dishonesty? You aren't telling the whole truth about yourself.
Where do we draw the line? How honest do we really have to be?
You can contact Luke Joshua Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org