Monday, July 19, 2010

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road - Or is He Just Lying There

If you are as old as me, you might remember Louden Wainwright III singing Dead Skunk.

You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!

It sort of makes me think about what some folks call truth - I mean you've got your whole truth, your half truth, your stinking truth, your subjective truth, your absolute truth, your objective truth, your personal truth, your universal truth, your human truth, your social truth and your relative truth - and white lies.

And after all that vomit, there are theories of truth such as correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, consensus, and my favorite - performative.

But, I am simple guy. Here are what I think, the top reasons that people don't tell the truth.

- Shame: I think that a lot of folks that I know lie because they are ashamed of what they have done. If you stole your grandmothers food and she died, I think you'd feel ashamed. Christians can get pretty judgmental, so fessin' up is no fun in most churches.

- Selfish or Greedy Motives: Look, you have something that is not yours, and somehow you feel that you deserve it - you've rationalized. Folks cheat on their income taxes all that time.

- Guilt: Let's face it, no one likes getting caught, or punished. Let's just say forensics sucks.

- Arrogance: There are folks that have a self-made image that needs to be protected. they lie because they perceive themselves to be better than. it happens a lot when people have power over others.

According to the Bible, lying is a sin.

Proverbs 10:10 and Proverbs 28:23 identifies telling the truth completely.
Ephesians 4:15 and Proverbs 11:3 identifies telling the truth consistently.
Ephesians 4:29 and Proverbs 13:17 identifies telling the truth lovingly.
Proverbs 12:18 identifies in telling the truth tactfully.

How about you, what motives have you had for lying?

13 comments:

GCT said...

Sometimes people lie because telling the truth might hurt another's feelings. You may not like the cake that someone made for you, but you might tell them that you do to spare their feelings and make them feel good for doing something nice for you - for just one example.

How does this fit with the Bible verses you list at the bottom? If there's no tactful way to tell the truth to this person and the loving thing isn't to tell them the truth (or is it?) then how can you tell the truth completely? Actually, isn't "Tell the truth completely" and "Tell the truth tactfully" a bit of a contradiction?

Charlie Chang said...

I know some people that purposely deceive others in the name of business to get what they want. And the crazy thing is, is that the person uses the road to Emmaus example where Jesus didn't outrightly tell the two who he was, in order to keep up with his own deception. It's crazy.

nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

David said...

@GCT - I don't see it that way at all. Even the laws f out land are preemptive, where one statue is applied before another.

There are laws do assaulting law enforcement for example. They trump simple assault charges.

One is to tell the truth completely except where it would not be tactful. Conversely, if more harm is don in trying to be tactful, then complete is the better option. it takes wisdom.

In the case of the cake, the tactful and honest response would probably be to focus on gratitude for the though, and not that the cake tasted like it was made with skunk spice.

My wife and I try not to ask questions that don't really have an a good answer. IE: "Do I look fat in the dress?" One usually knows the answer before they ask.

We have enough respect and love to be able to say the things that we don't really like. On a couple of occasions, I have said, "If you get a chance to make Pineapple Upside Down Bean Casserole with Fluff and Pickles - or whatever it is - again, don't bother." We laugh. But her maturity makes it easy to be honest.

When my 6-year-old asks me if I like her picture, I say yes to encourage her. I have it up, or put it on the refrigerator. I wore the silly hat with aggressive finger painting she made me for Father's day. Love trumps everything.

@CC - yeah, that is a shameful. I don't tell everyone my name like a back-up beeper truck warning wherever I go either.

David said...

@GCT - I don't see it that way at all. Even the laws f out land are preemptive, where one statue is applied before another.

There are laws do assaulting law enforcement for example. They trump simple assault charges.

One is to tell the truth completely except where it would not be tactful. Conversely, if more harm is don in trying to be tactful, then complete is the better option. it takes wisdom.

In the case of the cake, the tactful and honest response would probably be to focus on gratitude for the though, and not that the cake tasted like it was made with skunk spice.

My wife and I try not to ask questions that don't really have an a good answer. IE: "Do I look fat in the dress?" One usually knows the answer before they ask.

We have enough respect and love to be able to say the things that we don't really like. On a couple of occasions, I have said, "If you get a chance to make Pineapple Upside Down Bean Casserole with Fluff and Pickles - or whatever it is - again, don't bother." We laugh. But her maturity makes it easy to be honest.

When my 6-year-old asks me if I like her picture, I say yes to encourage her. I have it up, or put it on the refrigerator. I wore the silly hat with aggressive finger painting she made me for Father's day. Love trumps everything.

@CC - yeah, that is a shameful. I don't tell everyone my name like a back-up beeper truck warning wherever I go either.

David said...

@GCT - I don't see it that way at all. Even the laws f out land are preemptive, where one statue is applied before another.

There are laws do assaulting law enforcement for example. They trump simple assault charges.

One is to tell the truth completely except where it would not be tactful. Conversely, if more harm is don in trying to be tactful, then complete is the better option. it takes wisdom.

In the case of the cake, the tactful and honest response would probably be to focus on gratitude for the though, and not that the cake tasted like it was made with skunk spice.

My wife and I try not to ask questions that don't really have an a good answer. IE: "Do I look fat in the dress?" One usually knows the answer before they ask.

We have enough respect and love to be able to say the things that we don't really like. On a couple of occasions, I have said, "If you get a chance to make Pineapple Upside Down Bean Casserole with Fluff and Pickles - or whatever it is - again, don't bother." We laugh. But her maturity makes it easy to be honest.

When my 6-year-old asks me if I like her picture, I say yes to encourage her. I have it up, or put it on the refrigerator. I wore the silly hat with aggressive finger painting she made me for Father's day. Love trumps everything.

@CC - yeah, that is a shameful. I don't tell everyone my name like a back-up beeper truck warning wherever I go either.

photogr said...

To be honest I have never heard that song before.

There are times to tell the truth and times not to. One must determine who the truth will benefit the most and at what cost.

Tracy said...

I actually remember that song.

I've been motivated to lie in the past for all the reasons you've listed. One of the things I gained from participation in Al-Anon was an appreciation for an honest lifestyle. I've tried lying in the past to both myself and others, and it didn't bring me the kind of life I wanted.

GCT said...

So, one must be completely truthful, unless one has to be tactful? But, a lie of omission is still a lie, is it not? And, lying is a sin. So I still find myself unable to view the Bible as not being contradictory here.

"My wife and I try not to ask questions that don't really have an a good answer. IE: "Do I look fat in the dress?""

I don't think you look fat in that dress David.

David said...

@GCT - yeah, like I said, it does take wisdom. But it certainly never says that we can lie. And lies of omission - the sinful kind are meant as a cover up - not to be concerned with ones feelings. They are not loving, not kind, and measured against love, it is sinful.

Actually there were two midwives in the Bible (EX 1) and they lied about the children to save them. God did not say this was not a sin. But He did cover them in love for their works, not their words.

You have no idea what I look like in a dress - but thanks for the compliment! I think that is the only one that you've ever given me. ;o)

GCT said...

"And lies of omission - the sinful kind are meant as a cover up - not to be concerned with ones feelings. They are not loving, not kind, and measured against love, it is sinful."

What I'm getting from this is that lies that are meant to spare one's feelings (are not meant to be hurtful or cover up one's own failings) are not sinful? But, lies, all lies, are supposedly sinful.

"But He did cover them in love for their works, not their words."

But, sinning is a work.

GCT said...

Oops. My last sentence should have read that lying is a work.

IOW, if god covered them for their works, that would include the lies they told. Yet, lying is a sin.

Of course, god tells people to lie in the Bible, so there's another contradiction.

David said...

@GCT - The Bible does not say that God allows lying.

When we lump everything together, we fail to see the love of God in action. The lying was wrong - even for the purposes of God - but because their heart was to do the right thing; by love, God looked at the result of what they did.

It is the same with King David who made every US president we've ever had, look like choir boys. To have a heart for God - for the things of God does not mean that you are perfect - or that you cannot do very bad things.

So, to be clear, lying is not godly. Regardless, the "law" of love trumps all. That is why it was permissible for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath even though, by law, "work" was not permitted.

The problem is when folks justify their sins by saying it was love.

That is like saying when a Christian's character fails that somehow, God will hate them, or that it is God's fault. Neither is true. It is simply sin which deserves punishment.

Folks make bad decisions every day, but the only one that is eternally punishable is that one that rejects God.

Should I be expecting another compliment after this post? :o)

GCT said...

David,
"The lying was wrong - even for the purposes of God - but because their heart was to do the right thing; by love, God looked at the result of what they did."

What you're saying here is that what they did was wrong, but their heart was in the right place, which made it all right. So, if they had not lied it would have been right, but their heart would not have been in the right place at the same time.

That's the problem with absolute dictates.

"Folks make bad decisions every day, but the only one that is eternally punishable is that one that rejects God."

Wow, so disbelief is worse than murder, rape, and genocide all lumped together?

"Should I be expecting another compliment after this post?"

If you're wearing another dress, I'll tell you that you don't look fat in it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails