Is it possible to be truthful without falling into legalism? Or is honesty always the best policy? When is it not even a good idea to be honest? Just asking those questions exposes an underlying narrative that though a lie may be an abomination to God it is a very ready help in time of need.
I’m a little astonished to consider lying as a norm in our culture–which includes me! Whether or not I intend to mislead, say something that is just not true, or avoid saying something rude or endangering to myself or another’s reputation or character, I do live for the most part under the mercy or power of words and their motives.
Consider the last half-truth I caught rolling out of my mouth before I even thought… Or when not saying anything implied my agreement. Yikes. How did my nodding sympathetically indicate more concern than I really felt??
How does my goal to become the person God is intending me to be, incarnating to others the Christ that indwells and delights in me, changing the way I think (my narratives) and thus the words I speak? James 3:2 says that if you control the tongue, you control the whole person. You’ve heard the saying about how the tail wags the dog? I shudder at how easily my tongue wags me–and shakes my character at the same time.
A regular rhythm of silence helps us move beyond rules into what is loving in relationship with God and others. That is honestly what God wants for us and from us.