Something that begins to take its toll on me on the internet is constant accusations of lying, bearing false witness, being crazy, perceiving reality wrong. Somewhat funny, this deluge can come from non believers too, which than begs the question, how can one even bear false witness when that very concept comes from the Ten Commandments you claim to not even believe in? But never mind that, I digress.
Which leads me to the very non biblical parable of staring into the back-end of an elephant. If one has their nose in an elephant’s behind, than if I am at the front end describing the tusks, trunk, and feeding the creature peanuts, I am not “lying.”
I am not bearing false witness as to the nature of the elephant. If you are standing at the back-end trying to feed the creature peanuts, well than you are foolish indeed. I can understand why you might believe I am leading you astray, but the solution is not to accuse me of lying, the solution is to come around to the front end and take a look at what I am seeing.
This is basic communication 101, apparently no longer taught in our culture. It works really good in marriage too, in relationships between men and women. Many times my husband has said something and I have thought, well the man is just cray cray. Not even perceiving reality right. Lying. What weirdness is this? And than I have remembered, just come around to the front of the elephant and have a look at what he is seeing. Sure enough, the end of the elephant he is staring at is exactly as he describes.
People “lie” far less than we believe, if the “lie” exists for the sole purpose of deceiving others. People can certainly deceive their own selves, they can have faulty data, they can be staring at the wrong end of an elephant, but these things are not lying for the purpose of deceiving or exploiting others. It’s not all about you! Likely it has nothing to do with you at all. The vast majority of people did not arrive at their world view for the sole purpose of hoping to deceive you some day.
Politicians may be an exception to that rule, but we won’t go there right now….
IB seldom lies or attempts to deceive anyone, in fact I actually suffer from the opposite problem. Blunt and brutal honesty. Socially unacceptable. I am much more like that little kid you just have to shove a cookie at because they have a tendency to blurt out the truth at inappropriate times, like “I’m so glad mom got dressed today, she’s been in her pajamas for four days!”
I am far more prone to answer a question like, “Does this dress make me look fat,” with, “Why yes it gives you bulges I know you do not have and the color is bit off. I think you deserve a much better dress.”
As you can see, figuring out how to speak the truth in love is not always so easy. There is a time to speak it even though it will likely cost you, and there is a time to just keep your mouth shut and trust that the truth, like cream, will rise to the top. It always does.
One last thing, when men especially do not believe women, when they perceive us ALL to be deceitful, it is an egregious thing indeed, one that violates the natural order. Women turn towards men for protection, for leadership, so we may be rambling sometimes, hysterical even, confused, but that is so seldom done for the purpose of deception.
There’s a really wonderful teaching in the bible, the women at the empty tomb, the empty tomb being a prophecy fulfilled, something Jesus Himself said would happen, and yet when the women run to tell the men, no-one will listen, they are all consumed by grief, unable to even consider the possiblity…. all except Peter. Peter is the one disciple who basically says, okay, let’s go check it out.
Peter is the one disciple the Lord taught to remember to have some humility about other people’s perceptions, to keep in mind you don’t always know the full nature of your own self. Peter who denied Christ three times. Peter gets it. Peter’s been there.
Peter knows that sometimes you can be standing at the back end of an elephant trying to feed it peanuts, having no awareness at all that it even has a trunk and a mouth far better suited for such things. Peter is our rock for a reason.