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People only tell lies when they think it’s to their advantage. We offer social courtesies because saying what we really think might get us unfriended. Doctors will sometimes slant their prognosis toward what the patient wants to hear. Those who don’t want to take the blame might lie about their involvement.
When does the white lie turn black?
A conference director was looking for a keynote speaker.
For his big event, he needed someone who could address an important topic with a good mix of humor. So he arranged to meet his candidate for breakfast.
This speaker could captivate an audience.
With her perfectly timed humor and truth, she would make the crowd laugh and think at the same time.
Offstage, she used a different talent.
She was quick to make excuses for her lack of organization and planning. Whenever she was late or missed an appointment, she drew from her large bag of plausible reasons. The beauty of her skill was in making her excuses ring true. In a display of frustration, she might complain about her wait for a long train, the unusually heavy traffic, or having to finish an important phone call.
The director sat at the breakfast table, waiting.
Where was she? After another fifteen minutes, he picked up his cell phone to find out. “Are you waiting on another train?” He tried to conceal his frustration by sounding like he was making a joke.
Silence. “Uh . . . I thought our appointment was tomorrow.”
“That’s okay,” he said, somewhat relieved. “We can meet here in the morning.”
“Oh, I can’t,” she said. “I have another appointment.”
The speaker had been caught in her lie.
If she really thought their meeting was tomorrow, she wouldn’t have scheduled a conflicting appointment. That ended the conversation. She didn’t get the booking.
A white lie turns black as soon as someone suspects we’ve not told the truth. But if we tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we can live with the most honest person we’ve ever known: ourselves.
If bitterness or jealousy rises in your hearts, don’t be deceived. A competitive spirit based on greed, self-justification, and boasting will miss the truth. — James 3:14