This post is based on material from Dave Anderson’s book, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. It is the first post in a series of five in which we will address common character issues for leaders. Our first character issue is the little white lie.
Just A White Lie?
“But it was just a little white lie, right?”
How many times have you heard (or thought) this? I know we have all told someone they looked good when, in fact, they may not have. Maybe you told someone you liked their haircut or their new pair of shoes. You get the idea. I am not here to argue that point. I want to know if this behavior is okay in your business. Is it okay to tell white lies as a Christian in business?
Let’s try another line with which you may be more familiar…
“Who is it?…Just tell them that I am not here.”
If you have an assistant or receptionist, I am sure you have said something like this before. If not, congratulations! If so, can you justify saying something like this when you know it is not true? If your people see or hear you saying things like this, what effect do you think it has on their opinion of you? What effect does it have on their own behavior? If it is left unchecked, what behavior does it eventually lead to?
The white lie is so common in our world that most people do not even realize they are telling one. It can take many forms. Some of these may seem harmless (or even helpful) at the time. Some of them are a little more dangerous, but they are justified as being safer than telling the truth (at least at that moment!). Regardless of the rationalization, I think we need to take a long, hard look at this topic.
What Is The Expectation?
So what are we to do as Christian business owners and leaders? What is the expectation of us?
Well, as you probably guessed, I think we need to turn to the Bible for our answer. If we look at Ephesians 4:25, we will see the following verse:
Therefore, putting away all lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Obviously, I could point to many other verses that make it clear that we are not to lie, but to tell the truth. This is God’s expectation of us. It is not dependent upon circumstances or conditions. It does not apply only to some people, but to all who claim the name of Jesus.
In How To Run Your Business By The Book, Dave Anderson gives the following key advice:
- Tell the truth even when it is not easy, cheap, popular, or convenient.
- Tell the truth because it is right, it pleases God, it protects your personal integrity, and honors, rather than diminishes, everyone who hears what you say.
- Never, ever ask someone to sin for you by instructing them to lie on your behalf. This is an abuse of your power, position, relationship, and friendship and can destroy your witness as a Christian.
I will leave you with this verse from Luke 16:10…
Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.
I encourage you to start watching what you say. Increase your awareness of your words and make sure you are not falling into this trap.
Have you been guilty of little white lies?
Do you see the danger in where they lead?
What is your plan to change this behavior?