A Half Truth Is a Whole Lie

I've been busy working on book four in the Delaware Detectives Mystery Series, and I finally finished the rough draft.  As I typically do in these middle-grade novels, I wove a thread of moral lessons throughout the book, helping children to see that God's ways are always best.  Today, I'd like to share with you one of those lessons by quoting a portion of the new book.  Yes, I realize that you are adults and not children, but I know quite a few adults who have trouble with this particular nasty habit.  Either way, it's a good reminder for all of us.

Before Mr. Reed could respond, we explained to him about our spy mission from the night before. We gave him every detail about what we had heard and seen outside of Oldie’s Antiques. In our excitement, the four of us talked over one another as we all tried to fill in bits and pieces of the story. When we finished, I stared at Mr. Reed, certain that he would be thrilled with our findings, but instead, the look on his face was one of disapproval. 

“Your grandfather and your parents gave you permission to go on such a spy mission alone?” 

I grimaced. “Not exactly, but we did have permission to be out that late at night.” 

Mr. Reed folded his arms across his chest and tilted his head to one side. “And how is that exactly? What reason could you kids possibly have to be out that late at night?” 

Before I could answer, Jamie spoke up. “Well, you see, the library was having a movie night, so we told Pop-Pop and Mrs. Hicks that that’s where we were going.” 

“You mean you lied?” Mr. Reed asked. 

I shifted my weight from one foot to another, suddenly uneasy with the direction the conversation had turned. As I was trying to come up with something to say, Scott, who was also swaying on his feet, decided to speak up. 

“We didn’t exactly lie. We did go to the movie night at the library. We just left after it started, but we were there for some of it. So, it wasn’t really a lie. We went where we said we were going to go.” 

I shook my head, knowing this was not going to end well. 

Mr. Reed uncrossed his arms and laid his hands, palm down, on the counter, leaning forward to the point where his face was only inches from ours. “Oh, I see. So, because part of your story was true, it doesn’t matter that you left out the rest of it?” 

Scott didn’t answer, and it was clear to me he was regretting speaking up in the first place. The four of us stood quietly, waiting to hear what Mr. Reed would say next. 

The store owner shook his head. “What you kids did was very dangerous, but more than that, it was wrong. I don’t care how you look at it or how much you sugarcoat it, when you don’t tell the whole truth, it’s still a lie. It doesn’t matter if you tell half the truth or even most of the truth, if you leave out any part of it, it’s a lie, and I think, deep down you kids know that. If you didn’t, you would be defending yourselves right now instead of standing there in shame. You owe your grandfather and your parents an apology and an explanation of what you were really doing last night. It’s up to them how they want to proceed from there, but I don’t mind telling you that I’m disappointed. I expected more from you.” 

Tears sprang to my eyes. I don’t know what was worse: Mr. Reed’s lecture or the fact that he was disappointed in us. Over the past few weeks, we’d grown to really like and respect the elderly man. To know that he thought less of us at this point was truly heartbreaking. But he was right. We did know better. At least, I did. I understand—and have understood for a while no—that telling a half-truth is the same as telling a whole lie. But I knew that Pop-Pop would have never let us go if I told him the truth, so I convinced myself that it was worth a little lie to get what I wanted. But now, I realize that I was lying to myself as much as I was lying to Pop-Pop. Lying is never worth it, and it only brings trouble.

As Abby and her detective team discovered, lying can take many forms, and if we are ever leaving out certain details of the truth, we're telling a lie.  The kids omitted parts of the truth because they knew that their guardians would never agree to their dangerous plans, so rather than risk them saying "no," the kids simply left out some of the facts.  They tried to justify the deception by saying that most of their story was true, but as Abby finally realized, they were lying to themselves as much as to anyone else.  And, as the Bible says,

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)  

They knew to tell the whole truth, but they didn't, so it was a sin.  Plain and simple.

May we not be guilty of the same!

***Special Note:  I am currently putting together the launch team for I Once Was Lost:  A Delaware Detectives Mystery.  If you would be interested in receiving an advance copy of the book, offering valuable feedback on cover design and such, winning valuable prizes, having your name listed in the book and more, please visit the sign-up page here:  http://ddmystery4.weebly.com.  Enrollment ends on January 27th.***