Do people’s faces look different when they lie? I wonder this silently to myself as an associate embellishes on a lie. In one of my classes, they said that people tend to look to the left when they lie and to the right when they are recalling the truth. I never know if it is to ‘their right’ or ‘my right.’ I contemplate this as he continues. I listen with borderline amusement as I try to count the times that he blatantly fibs. I lose interest quickly, though, and begin counting his ear hairs instead. In case you are wondering, I counted nine lies before I lost interest and 12 noticeable hairs.
As he concludes, I smile and place the evidence of his betrayal back into my briefcase. For now, it is enough that I have learned something about his character. I am content to be “wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.” (Matthew 10:16, NKJV).
You don’t always have to confront others. Sometimes it is wise to silently resolve to phase people out of your life. You don’t have to engage in battle. You don’t have to give the other person the opportunity to put the blame on you- especially when the prospect of them taking responsibility for their actions is unlikely. People who lie to you easily about silly things will also lie to you about serious things. These folks are dangerous in life and in business. It’s okay not to do business with these people and it’s just fine if you don’t continue relationships with them either. When someone lies so often that even their truth becomes suspicious, it is not because you are crazy; it is because they have something in themselves on which they need to work.
I try to exercise grace because to say that I have never stretched the truth would BE stretching it. But as an adult, particularly as a very busy adult, I don’t have time to tell stories. I don’t have the energy to keep up with them. Also, my eye has a tendency to twitch when I’m less than honest. In case you are wondering, I’m not sure if it’s the left or the right eye that twitches and if it pertains to the direction in which I’m subconsciously glancing. I’ve also discovered, the hard way, that it’s better to tell the truth because the truth will eventually always tell itself. The truth may hurt when a loved one or business associate reveals it at first but, without fail, it is always more devastating when it comes to surface in a way that is less than direct.
In the situation concerning my associate, do I care about this person? Absolutely. Do I care enough about this person to engage in battle; not so much anymore. Conflict can be good. It means that there are at least two people who care enough about something to go to war. When conflict isn’t present, it usually means there is nothing worth fighting for, be it business or personal. So, this time I choose just to listen. Business as usual. Do I have the same relationship with him? Of course not, because it is impossible to feel secure when people lie, be it about something simple like Christmas cards or something serious like professional contracts. It hurts to be lied to. It’s that simple.
Can you demand that associates or friends be honest? Nope. Not even most of the time. You can’t control other people. You can only control yourself. Being dishonest is sometimes easier on the front end, but it has serious consequences. It can cost you business deals and relationships. It can certainly hurt the people who love you the most. In contrast, being honest can be extremely difficult. But it demonstrates a deep respect for the people to whom you tell the truth. It lets them know that you consider them worthy of the truth and capable of handling it. So, while we can’t demand honesty from other people, we do have the responsibility of being honest to the people we care about and the people we do business with. And men, you also have the responsibility to keep your ear hairs trimmed. If you can’t be honest, at least be well groomed.