It seems only fair, that if I am to write about the happenings of my life, that I shouldn't gloss over the less than perfect parts of myself and my life. So as a little insight into this crazy mind of mine, I thought I would make an occasional - I don't rant that often I promise - feature of my pet peeves. You know, those things that always get you going; sometimes completely irrational, sometimes justified, sometimes tiny, sometimes bigger, sometimes totally pointless, sometimes with righteous motives.
Anyway, without further ado, I thought I'd start with one which is actually pretty important and not just silly (watch this space, there will be ridiculous ones to come). So the prize for pet peeve of the moment goes to ... .... ...
I thought I'd put it over there and in green because I dislike it so much. I fervently, passionately, intensely hate, detest and despise the act of lying. This includes deceit, half-truth, white-lies, avoidance of truth, dishonest dealings etc etc etc.
For example, I have a dress in my wardrobe that I have never worn and don't really envisage myself wearing anytime. It still has the label on but I bought it ages ago and I haven't got a receipt. A friend suggested I take it back to the shop claiming it was a present and see whether I could get a refund. Harmless really? Except it wasn't a present, so that's a lie, and it's a lie I'm not going to tell. Another example, we got our Christmas turkey from Asda. Grandad came to us for Christmas this year and he doesn't like supermarket meat, so Mum told him it came from a butcher's. Harmless really? Well, not exactly I don't think.
To start with, lying makes things so complicated. One lie always leads to more lies and ends up in a tangled web which is never without consequences of some kind or another. It seems to me, that it is always simpler to just share whatever the truth was and live with whatever consequences of embarrassment or admonishing there might be. The likelihood being that if you really want something to be hidden that much, it probably ought to be out in the open. I heard in a sermon recently that it's a pretty good measure of whether you should be doing something or not, if you consider whether you would want anyone to know about it or not. That seemed to ring scarily true in my own heart, I wonder whether you would agree.
More importantly, as a Christian, I desire to share the good news of Jesus with those who do not yet know it. If I have a tendency to be sparing with the truth in the little things, then that is no foundation for sharing what I believe is the ultimate truth. Why should someone believe me when I tell them that Jesus died for their sins, if they know I am not to be trusted when sharing what I did on the weekend? Why should someone accept my invitation to come along to church with me, if I have promised to meet up for coffee several times and never turned up? Why should a child believe me when I tell them that Jesus walked on water, when I also told them that Santa exists and flies through the sky on Christmas eve on a sleigh pulled by reindeer?* It's a matter of integrity really.
Now of course, as in everything, we are only human and will never get this 100% right 100% of the time and I will be as guilty of this as anyone else. But when we slip up, we have the opportunity to add to our integrity by admitting our responsibility and genuinely apologising without excuses. I also know that if you thought hard enough about it, you could probably come up with instances where lying is actually justifiable (the classic being people who hid Jews in the second world war in order that their lives might be saved). But these are the exceptions rather than the rule. The principle remains, that wherever possible, honesty is the best policy.
That's it, rant over. Let me know if you agree/disagree or if there's something similar which really 'gets your goat' or if you have an example of a lie you've needed to tell. I'd be really interested to hear what you have to say.
*No I don't believe that all people who tell children about Santa are terrible people, I just don't think my personal conviction would allow me to.