19 Aug '13
Slippery truth and its signs
Posted by T.J. Addington in truth
From time to time I run across people who I start to realize are slippery with the truth. Behind a veneer of spirituality and Christian words they have the ability to spin any situation in a way that makes them look good and which justifies their actions, even when those actions are clearly problematic.
Slippery truth is nothing less than lying and if you do it long enough it is possible to no longer even realize that one is not being honest. The habit turns truth telling into spin and that spin is so ingrained that the one doing it starts to believe their own distorted version of truth. It actually becomes truth to them because they not only convince others but themselves of their version.
What are the signs of slippery truth?
First when explanations over time do not square with the facts as you know them or are used to justify unwise, dishonest or self-serving actions. Those explanations may be framed with sincerity and even spiritual language but your gut says that the truth has been reframed for personal reasons.
Second, when what is communicated is consistently that the individual is right and others are wrong. Or, that your interpretation of events and actions is faulty and theirs is correct. It is spin to exonerate self by the refashioning of truth.
Third, when clearly serious issues are downplayed as insignificant or unimportant and explanations given that are clearly meant to minimize what others would consider serious. Minimization of what others consider serious ethical or moral issues is a definite sign of spin to justify otherwise problematic behaviors.
Fourth, when an individual tries to simply talk himself or herself out of an otherwise clear moral or ethical bind. Some people think that if they talk enough, long enough and from enough angles that they can avoid accountability for their actions.
These behaviors become deeply destructive over time because they start to become truth for the one practicing them, hence my name slippery truth which is not truth at all. Second, the habit of engaging in slippery truth and can turn into pathological lying. I know a few of those and they are or have been Christian leaders. Third, these behaviors fuel narcissism because they are designed to protect the self at the expense of others and truth becomes whatever is convenient and helpful to the individual, which of course is not truth at all but dishonesty.
The Scriptures have a great deal to say about truth. God is a God of truth. Jesus came in truth and grace. Dishonesty in any form is anathema to God (see Proverbs and the Psalms). Furthermore, the center of a healthy life is one that is undivided and the only route to an integrated inner life is a life of truth. The Devil is called the Father of Lies. For those who may be tempted by slippery truth they need to understand that it is a path of the evil one while truth is the path of God.
Don’t be fooled by people who exhibit slippery truth even if they are considered church leaders or ministry leaders. Slippery truth is dishonesty plain and simple. We ought to call it for what it is and treat it for what it is: a lie.