Speaking honestly involves the need to speak the truth as an act of love toward others, when we might sometimes prefer to withhold it. However, it naturally carries the responsibility of refraining from overt dishonesty. Accusations of lying abound in times of conflict, but if we try to see the best in people, then we create less tension for ourselves as we consider our interpretations of others’ behaviour.
I have often seen stories relayed with incomplete truth, rather than the absence of it. Presumption can then surround the apparently deliberate withholding of information. Although it is possible that deliberate lying can occur in this manner, there may also be no intention for this to happen. The ‘lie’ is therefore a misunderstanding of what was meant.
A ‘Chinese whispers’ scenario can see trustworthy people unwittingly distort parts of a story, too, due perhaps to an incomplete memory of it or a biased selectivity in what is reported. However, we might then presume the person they heard it from is less honest, which may be unfair.
Accusations of lying push ‘us versus them’ scenarios to unhealthy black-and-white extremes, when these realities mostly exist in shades of grey. After all, there are three versions of reality: ours, theirs, and the truth!
Alleged lies can also be based on assumptions about facts rather than the facts themselves. The antidote is to stay in a conversation as we suppress emotions and discover the necessary details. The word is ‘necessary’, though. Otherwise, we may even be wise to let unimportant issues go ‘though to the keeper’ and maintain the best possible view of the other person, since not every verbal delivery needs to be hit for six!