Webster’s Dictionary defines lying as an untrue statement made deliberately, a falsehood. Is there ever a time when lying is acceptable? Are there circumstances that would make lying appropriate? When caught lying by their child, can a parent justify the lie? Or do they lose credibility?
Taking a closer look at lying, one will see that it comes in many forms. There’s the “little white lie”, such as assuring someone the outfit they are wearing doesn’t make them look fat. Is a lie in those circumstances acceptable? Some people would say yes. However, it takes a true friend, family member to stand up and say that “yes, it does let’s find you something that flatters you instead”. It takes courage to be able to tell the truth. Lying is the coward’s way out.
Is your friend or family member better off accepting the lie and going out in an outfit that is ill-fitting? Or would they be grateful that you told them the truth so they could spend the evening out feeling good about the outfit that fits them best?
Then you have the lies that are illegal. It is illegal to lie to a police officer, it is illegal to lie to a federal agent, and it’s illegal to lie under oath. Don’t forget the lies that result in the crime of fraud. When lying can send you to jail, it becomes a negative aspect of one’s character in most situations.
Of course, there are the parenting issues lying creates. Deceptive parents raise deceptive children. The quickest way for a child to think its okay for them to lie is to watch their parents do it. It becomes very difficult for any parent who lies to maintain credibility with their child. Young children are not mature enough to separate a little white lie from a big lie. To them it’s all lying. Parents who set the example that lying is appropriate must hold themselves responsible when their children behave in the same way. Unfortunately for parents, once they lose their child’s faith in them it’s very difficult to get it back.
There are people who actually disagree with honesty being the best policy. Those individuals will argue and belittle anyone who believes lying is reprehensible. When on the receiving end of these people, it can unlock a primal need to want to defend one’s position. Attempting to explain why someone would have that opinion on deception would be a lesson in futility. The advocates on deceit being acceptable have the narcissistic idea that they know everything and their point of view is the only valid one there is.
When someone will go out of their way to defend lying, they are generally the ones who incorporate deception in their everyday lives. By forcing their opinion on others they are trying to justify their own actions. This makes them the people in someone’s life they should avoid.
Regardless of whether you believe lying is right or wrong, there are always going to be consequences involved with it. Once a person is caught being dishonest, they will have to face the hurt feelings and resentments their behavior created. It also tarnished any integrity they might actually possess.
So while it may seem like lying isn’t a big deal and people may attempt to justify lying as acceptable, is it really ever appropriate? Or does being dishonest boil down to the negative personality trait its definition infers? Are their circumstances where lying is okay, or is that perception just a smoke screen a liar uses to make themselves feel better?
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