You’ve heard the excuses for “little lies” or “white lies” used to direct attention, action or behavior in positive directions. They are used with the excuse that they don’t hurt anyone if they are used to correct something or help shift something from a negative to a positive.
These little lies are used to correct children, shift blame, protect self image, redirect negative attention elsewhere, and other purposes. As compared to a full-blown lie (an outright untruth, bald-faced lie, perjury), these seem innocuous and harmless.
But, this seem related to the popular, common concept of truth. You hear the phrase “personal truth” to describe how someone interprets facts or events. Or, “truth is relative” to a person, group, or culture. This dilution of the meaning of truth may be directly related to how we view a lie.
I’m dealing with this lately as I read, view, and experience things. I realized I never tried to use “little lies” or lies in the dialog of my characters in The Spirit Missions. It never occurred to me to have my characters tell untruths. Well, except for the coyote (as Satan). I’ve written dialog where a character may misunderstand something, or didn’t have correct information. But, usually, through the process of a communication, the understanding or information is corrected.
The coyote (as Satan) lied. But, that would be expected. At least, I assume that would be the case.
… He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44 NLT
But, somehow, we’ve diluted truth, and therefore seemingly diluted the evil of the lie. I’ve addressed evidence in a previous post, so I’ll refer you to that for a more detailed discussion of evidence. Empirical evidence, or fact, are just truth. If you notice in that dictionary definition I linked there, nowhere does it mention opinion. Relative truth, his truth, her truth, all those variations just amount to one thing: opinion. This just plays into “the father of lies” who “has always hated the truth.”
So, what damage, what evil, do we do with the little lies, the white lies? First, recognize that they are all just lies. No little, no white, and no whoppers. Just lies. And, like all lies, they damage the teller more than the hearer. The lies and the teller are owned by the “father of lies” and the teller must build a larger narrative around the lie. Lies upon lies.
The truth, then, becomes the victim. We sacrifice truth at our own peril.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.John 14:6 NLT