Driving away from the Greek food truck, I knew that I had just lied to my new friends. Sure, I was doing my level-best trying to convince myself that it was a “little lie,” one that didn’t even matter. I kept telling myself that going back and telling my friends the whole truth, (see how I slipped that word in, like there is possibly something that exists called a half-truth?) would only confuse them and possibly cause them to see me differently. I was trying to convince myself that it was inconsequential.
I arrived home and tried to do some household chores. When I knew that the feeling wasn’t going away, I walked upstairs to my husband’s office and shared with him my experience, trying to convince him, that it was just a “little” lie. He listened intently as I described how everything was going fine until they asked me how long I’d been working as a life coach and how many clients I had. “For some reason,” I told my husband, “I didn’t want to tell them that it had been less than two months, and I had a ‘whopping’ total of four clients–only three who were actively coming. I worried that they might laugh and tell me that I couldn’t really call myself a life coach when I’d only been doing it for less than two months, and had so little clientele. So, I told them that it had been between three or four months, and I had at least 5 clients.” (I mean, what’s a month or two really, and how could anyone expect a good life coach to know the exact number of clients?) I continued, “although they were perfectly fine with my answer, I spent the rest of the conversation trying to slip in the truth without coming right out and telling them. I knew they didn’t catch on.”
As I finished the story, my husband asked me “Are you going to clean it up?” I was prepared for that question. I had several reasons already for why I didn’t “need” to clean it up. After patiently listening to my excuses, he looked at me and said, “Kristi, it’s not for them; it’s for you.”
What do “little white lies” do to our soul? According to President James E. Faust, “They make us progressively color-blind.” There is no such thing as a little lie, and certainly the purity of the color white could never be associated with a lie.
I want to be very clear that when I was a child and into my high-school years, I was the President of the “Little White Lie Club.” My philosophy was: if it didn’t hurt someone else, and it got me what I wanted, then, really, it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t until my early to mid-twenties when a family home evening lesson that my older Brother Brett had given many years earlier came clearly to my mind. He shared the truth with our family that “a lie is any form of deceit.” I didn’t understand what that meant when he said it, but the Spirit had brought it back to my remembrance, and then began to show me all of the places and ways I had learned to deceive.
Elder Jeffrey R Holland declared, “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living and truth loving.”
I recognized that day, sitting in the parking lot next to that Greek food truck, that I was choosing to not be “truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, or loving.”
I knew the truth in my husband’s suggestion, that me calling and sharing with them that I had been dishonest would likely not affect them at all, and I was reminded that though it would be nice if these new friends thought I was successful, capable, and cool enough for them, my ultimate desire was to live my life guided by the Spirit, and to genuinely strive to become each day a little more like my Father in Heaven. I decided years ago that I wanted to be an honest person, and that afternoon, I had given into the temptation and the tempting belief that comes from the Father of all lies, that what these good women thought of me was more important than what I thought of me, and ultimately what God thought of me.
I don’t believe for a minute that there is such a thing as a white lie or a half truth. I know, I know…some of you are thinking, what if my spouse asks me if he or she looks good in these jeans. Yes, even then, wouldn’t it be wonderful if your spouse, or anyone that asks you a question, could know with a surety, that they can count on you to speak truth?
Jesus Christ is the Truth. When we speak Truth, we speak of Him–even if the question is about the stability of your business or the fit of your jeans.