In the April edition of Reader’s Digest an article appears under the title “The World Needs More Honesty.” Pamela Meyer is quoted in the article as saying, “We’ve got a deception epidemic.” She is the CEO of Calibrate, a Washington, D.C., company that trains people in the legal, insurance, and financial and college admissions fields in the art of lie spotting. And her business is booming. More and more institutions are struggling to deal with lying by potential employees, cheating on tests, and employee fraud. It is an epidemic that has struck the business, political and, yes, even religious world.
The author of the Reader’s Digest article is Maura Kelly. She lists the top 10 lies from 2013, and the No. 1 lie was President Barack Obama’s statement that if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance, period. She also listed the No. 1 liar of recent times as Bernie Madoff. Mr. Madoff appeared before the Securities and Exchange Commission on three occasions, and each time he lied about his business. Finally, he was arrested and subsequently pled guilty to running an elaborate Ponzi scheme. The total amount of the fraud is still unknown, but it was in the billions of dollars. This big lie cost many people their entire life savings and netted Bernie 150 years in federal prison.
Yet, in spite of these famous cases of people being caught in a lie, dishonesty goes on all around us. Advertisers lie about their products. Sports heroes lie about their use of performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids. Two of the most famous baseball players in the past 25 years, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, will most likely never make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame, even though Clemens was arguably the best pitcher in baseball history and Bonds set the all-time record for home runs, surpassing Hank Aaron. Both of them have denied using PEDs, but the evidence indicates otherwise. Of course, the most famous sports figure of recent memory who was caught in a lie is Lance Armstrong. Ultimately, his lie will cost him millions of dollars in returned endorsements.
As a nation, the United States still lays claim to being founded on Christian principles. But, hold on a minute, Christianity and lying are incompatible. In fact, according to Scripture, lying could result in terrible consequences. One of the most famous stories in the Bible is the case of Ananias and Sapphira, which can be found in Acts chapter 5. Ananias and Sapphira were part of the early New Testament Church. They pretended to be giving the entire proceeds from the sale of their property to the Church. And, when questioned by the apostle Peter, they denied that any had been held back. This lie cost both of them their lives.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like today if every time someone told a lie he or she would drop dead? How many people would die each day if that were the case?
The real question is, What about you? Are you always honest? Do you ever bend the truth just a little bit? Here at Life, Hope & Truth we stand for the truth. Society seems to have lost sight of the value of telling the truth and has settled for a lie—even when everyone knows it is a lie, as in the case of politicians.
The Washington Post newspaper distributes “Pinocchios” for politicians and government officials who blatantly lie. The number of Pinocchios depends on the egregious nature of the lie. This past year virtually all the key leaders of our country have received at least one Pinocchio, and often they receive several. It was a novelty at first and caused people to laugh, but now it has ceased to be funny and makes one ask the question, Is anyone telling the truth?
Yes, as Maura Kelly wrote in her article, there is an epidemic of deception going on, and it will only end when everyone takes personal responsibility to always tell the truth.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Jim Franks.