A few years ago, I was at a daylong event for men. A well-known pastor got up to say a few words and made a comment that caught most of our ears.
He was speaking about the relationships between husbands and wives. As he spoke, he began talking about his own marital relationship. He said, “My wife and I don’t argue or fight.”
My ears perked up on that one. Then he said, “We just have intense fellowship.” After everyone laughed, he went on to say that, following such times of intense fellowship, he often ended up sleeping on the couch.
So much for intense fellowship…
I think it was Shakespeare who said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You can rename that rose. You can call it a skunk. It’s still going to smell pretty good.
When the politicians do it, we call it spin. There are people who actually make a living renaming, redirecting and revamping the truth. We call them spin-doctors. We’ve gotten pretty good at evading reality.
My Mother used to have a saying—“That guy could take you out at night and make you think it was daytime.” Some folks can make you think up is down and right is left. I’m not sure how they get away with it, but it happens a lot.
“You can’t handle the truth!”
We have a lot of excuses for what we do when we bend the truth.
- It was just a little white lie. (Have any of you ever told an orange lie?)
- It was only a fib. (Fib is such an odd word—sounds like half a heart attack.)
- I was just joking (…and laughing on the inside).
- I didn’t mean it that way. (I’ll figure out what I meant in a minute.)
- You twisted my words! (Or maybe they just came out crooked.)
- You took me out of context. (If I can find a context, we’ll be fine.)
- I don’t recall ever saying that (…so I must not have…I hope).
- It was just a little exaggeration. (Maybe we can shrink it further.)
- I was overstating it for effect (and you’re overstating my effect).
- You don’t deserve the truth. (Especially since I didn’t want you to know it.)
- You can’t handle the truth! (Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men, 1992)
“That Pinocchio thing isn’t real.”
We have a few other toned down descriptions we like to use—half-truths, inaccuracies, honest lies, minimizations, omissions, polite lies, and pufferies come to mind. All I can say is, “I’m happy that Pinocchio thing isn’t real.”
I know, I know. There are lies, and then there are damned lies. And I suppose there’s a difference. It’s really hard to know where to draw the line, however.
Then there’s the Bible. It continually says stuff like, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.” (Proverbs 19:5)
I wonder why God makes such a big deal out of such little things.