One of my best friends in life is Kevin McCarthy, a pastor and counselor in Michigan. He and I were dialoguing about “why people lie.” He brought up Dr. Willard Harley as a good resource. Harley has identified four kinds of liars within the particular context of marriage but these categories apply for each of us:
1. Protective liars. Who do so to avoid hurting others (we’ve all seen it hiding a cancer diagnosis from someone so as not to traumatize them, etc…
2. Look Good liars. We all know these, like Napoleon Dynamite who tells his schoolmates he’s spent the summer hunting wolverines in Alaska. It’s the motto: “The older I get, the better I was.”
3. Avoid Conflict liars. Every married guy can resonate with this category: “Sure honey, I’ll be home in a half-an-hour…”
4. Pathological liars. Like M. Scott Peck writes about in his great book The People of the Lie.
Pinocchio Parenting by Chuck Borsellino is a great expose’ on the subtle lies we tell our kids; culturally acceptable lies such as:
- You can be anything you want to be
- Looks don’t matter-it’s what’s on the inside that counts
- It’s the thought that counts
- It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose it’s how you play the game
- God helps those who help themselves
- It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts.
- It doesn’t matter what you do in life, as long as you’re happy
- All good things come in small packages
- The best things in life are free
- Of course there’s a Santa Claus
…and a host of others.
God’s advice to us is to “speak the truth in love.” Easier said than done.
Two helpful articles here and here.