Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Radical truth-telling

Can we believe the New York Times when it reports that 91% of people regularly do not tell the truth? There's something ironic about the precision of the statistic!

But today some of us met to consider the erosion of truth-telling in Western society. Greg Griffin told us that the class of 2001 believed 79% of their grandparents' generation would tell the truth compared to only 68% of their parents' generation and just 25% of their contemporaries!

This is an issue that's live and practical and difficult for lawyers, for sales people, car mechanics, teachers, politicians, parents - and human beings in general.

Like alcoholics, the first step to recovery is to admit that I do not always tell the whole truth. J.I. Packer wrote, "A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth!" And Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted that the very existence of oaths is proof of the existence of lies.

I want to "let my 'yes' simply be 'yes'" and monitor my promises to establish credibility and so that others can count on us to follow through on what we say we will do.