“Liar, liar! Pants on Fire!” my classmates used to chant at anyone who got caught telling a lie. Children are often prone to tell a lie in an effort to stay out of trouble without realizing they are creating a much worse outcome when they get caught.
Apparently our current politicians on both sides of the fence never learned this lesson. I can hardly tolerate ten seconds of the news these days. Like children, they apparently haven’t learned that the truth has a way of coming out and whoever is telling untruths is going to look pretty shabby in the long run and lose credibility.
The other day my granddaughter got upset about something an adult had told her that turned out to be untrue and a three year old was smart enough to figure it out. “She told a lie! She is a liar,” she proclaimed. Then she thought about it and said, “I’m not allowed to say the word liar… She told a big fib! I can say that word.”
No matter what we call it, a lie is still a lie. Golly whopper. Fibber. Flibber dibber. Fib. Misspoke the truth. Bent the truth. White lie. Put a political spin on it. Colored the truth. Took a factual shortcut. Misleading words. Twisted truth. Stretched the truth. Factual inconsistencies. Half-truths. Malarcky. Cow plop.
While all of us may make a slip up from time to time, most of us do not do it on purpose. We may simply be mistaken, or mistakenly having believed what someone else told us for the truth, and repeated it. The ones that bother me the most are the folks who lie without remorse, and do it habitually.
Someone lied to me this week about something so trivial, there was no logic to it. Telling me a lie didn’t change the outcome. It didn’t make things better in their favor. It didn’t accomplish anything except to remind me a lesson I’ve learned about them in the past time and time again.
It left me frustrated, disappointed, and angry at the person who lied. Knowing that I am naïve and trust other people to conduct themselves honorably, I have apparently set myself up for people to lie to me and think they can get away with it. Why someone would risk breaking my trust for such an unimportant matter is not even logical to me.
If someone deliberately lies about one thing, they will lie about another. It is a red flag signal that says, “Here lives an unreliable, untrustworthy person.” A liar has no self-respect and no respect for the person to whom they are telling the lie.
My mother has a saying, “The truth will stand when the world is on fire.”
I’ve always told my son, “Never lie… about anything. It takes one lie to prop up another one and the next thing that happens is that it is completely out of control.” He was a child who would tell the truth even if he knew it would get him in trouble with me. However, he often left out details unless I happened to ask the right question.
Abraham Lincoln said that no man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
If a person is found to be a liar, people stop believing them, even when they speak the truth. Aesop figured this out thousands of years ago!
William Shakespeare noted that, “A liar begins with making falsehoods appear as truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood.”
A person who is known as a liar loses all credibility, even in their most sincere, truthful moments. I can forgive a person who lies to me and I figure it out, but I am never so free as to trust them as before the lie.
It would be nice if a liar’s pants actually could catch on fire. End of problem. End of lies.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.