When is it acceptable to lie?

Is this a question that must be answered?

Absolutely!

Since it is a question that must be answered, when is it acceptable to lie?

Webster says that to lie is: to make a statement that one knows is false, especially with intent to deceive. Is that hard to understand? I don’t think so.

Lying is a form of dishonesty. When is it acceptable to be dishonest? Lying is a form of deception. When is it acceptable to deceive?

Successful human relationships are dependent on trust. Dishonesty, deception, and lying undermine our relationships with each other. When is it acceptable to undermine personal and professional relationships?

We try to avoid the reality of the seriousness of lying by calling lies untruths, half-truths, little white lies and the ever-popular fib. No matter how innocuous the word we substitute for a lie, a lie is still a lie.

From the time we started talking as children, we have wrestled with this question.

When is it acceptable to lie?

Have you ever called for someone by telephone and the person who answered said this? “He is not here.” ‘She is not in the office today.” “I mailed you a check last week.”

Did you believe what you were told? Why not?

One day I was in the kitchen of a restaurant when the phone rang. One of the workers answered then came to the manager and said, “Harold Wallace wants to talk with you.”

The manager responded, “Tell him I am not here.”

Later when we were alone, I asked the manager, “When is it acceptable for your employees to lie?”

Then I asked him to consider this. “If you train your employees to lie for you, how will you feel and how will you react when they lie to you?” “You are making it very difficult for them to know when it is acceptable to lie.”

So, when is it acceptable to lie? Never!

Always Tell the Truth!

I have worked for great, good, bad and terrible bosses.

One of those bad bosses asked me to steal, cheat and lie for him. This is how I always handled it.

He asked me one day to lie for him. I said to him, “I will not lie to you and I will not lie for you.” That closed the conversation. I didn’t lie to him or for him, and he did not fire me.

We expect bosses to train workers, but sometimes workers have to train bosses.

It is your integrity that is at stake. You may work for a boss for a short period of time, but you will live with yourself forever.

Always Tell the Truth!

Some of you are bosses now; many of you who are not will be in the future.

When you train your employees, will you make clear to them when it is acceptable to lie? Oh YES, you definitely will! It may be intentional or accidental, but you will train them and at least give them clues, maybe very confusing clues, that let them know when it is acceptable to lie.

You will do well to remember the Golden Rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Let’s keep this clear and simple.

When is it acceptable to lie?

Never!

Always Tell the Truth!

Jimmy Collins

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