Liar Liar

I know someone who lies.  It’s just what they do.  They tell small lies.  They tell big lies.  I’ve heard them tell whoppers.  More than once.  And they never bat an eye.  It’s as if they’re telling the truth.  In their mind, maybe they are.

Others have noticed.  When the storyteller isn’t around, someone will mention that story.  They knew it wasn’t true.  It was too obvious.  It was an almost unbelievable story.  I don’t know how she thought up such magnificent details on the spur of the moment like that.

If someone makes a point of lying just to look better than others or to get out of a tough spot, does it ever feel natural?  Does lying ever feel good?  Do habitual liars feel guilty?  Do the lies just taint any truth they may later tell?

I always assume that people are telling the truth.  I’ve made a habit of being truthful.  I don’t like lies.  Oh sure, it would be easy to lie.  In the moment, it would be easy.  But there are always consequences.  Consequences are never friendly.  They’re heavy, unnecessary lessons to be learned.

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.           Proverbs 12:22

I sometimes think about it.  That lie I told.  That lie I never confessed.  To anyone. Ever.  I knew there would be trouble if I admitted it.  I wasn’t sure what the punishment would be.  So I didn’t tell.

I’ve thought about that lie over the years.  The first few years after the lie, I wondered if I should send a note and confess.  By then I lived in another state, and it no longer mattered.

I did something I shouldn’t have done and then I lied when asked about it.    I didn’t think about getting caught or being questioned about it when I did it. But people knew that someone had done something they shouldn’t have done.  And it was me.

When the group of us were sitting in the room being questioned, I assumed everyone suspected me.  I was the youngest.  The least experienced.  No one blamed me.  But I knew.  I knew they thought it was me.  I knew that I wasn’t going to confess to anything or to anyone.

The thing is.  I knew when I was doing it that it wasn’t right.  But someone before me had written wrong instructions.  I followed the instructions.  So was it really my fault?  Even though I knew better?

I knew their instructions were confusing. I could have corrected their mistake.  I had seen their mistake before and avoided it.  Maybe they didn’t see it as a mistake, but their intentions were misleading.  I knew better, though.  I just didn’t act on it.  I took the instructions literally.  Why didn’t I avoid it this time?  I always had before.

So I lied and said that I wasn’t the one who did that thing.  I felt bad about it.  I didn’t want to get in trouble.

Afterwards, no one ever spoke of it again.  Ever.  That was a huge relief.  I still felt it in my heart, though.  I knew I should confess.  I never did.  I. Never. Did.

I’ve learned from that lie.  I’ve learned that I don’t want to make lying a habit.  I don’t want to have to constantly remember the story I told and who I told it to.  I don’t want to have to be on my guard.  Always watching what I say and who I say it to.  Wondering if others can tell I’m untruthful.  I don’t want consequences.  It’s easier and safer to just tell the truth.  That way you don’t have to remember.  The story is always the same.

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