Truth is what we need to hear, a lie is what we want to hear.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. – John 8:32

In 1971 Ray Burwick and I founded Northwest Counseling Services. A cornerstone of the practice was our 12-hour seminar called, The Institute of Family Living.  

There, four years of intensive family and personal counseling were the best educational period of my life. It far exceeded my U of Idaho bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

To this day I often use an effective technique I learned at that time when asked to give counsel. 

I ask this simple yet profound question:

“Do you want me to tell you the truth or do you want me to tell you a lie?”

Too often when I told the truth, the reaction was anger. It is clear to me most people don’t want to know the truth; they want to hear what they want to hear. 

People in need of help always say, “tell me the truth.”

Anger, blaming others, contempt, excuse-making, and stonewalling are all common responses.

Thus my reason for the simple yet profound truth or lie question. I then say, 

“I thought you wanted me to tell you the truth?” “Guess I better tell you a lie, is that what you want?”

When a major health issue knocked at my door truth and lies became serious matters for me. This is the reason I call Mr. Cancer a heartless and cruel teacher. Cancer is brutally truthful, has no respect for its victim’s family or one’s life. Yet cancer can be an effective teacher.

Words of Hope today is not about cancer, we are visiting the ideas of truth and lies.

These are my realities about truth and lies:

  • My truth is not necessarily the truth of the other person in the conversation.
  • Some people have one truth; their truth.
  • More not less, do not want to know the truth if it means they need to change their behavior or attitude.
  • Truth is what we need to hear, a lie is what we want to hear.
  • The real truth about me is not what I say about me, the truth is what God says about me.
  • The Word of God the Bible is the ultimate authority in truth. This truth is reserved for those who come humbly with an open mind and heart.

Crucial Others – People in our lives who have proven track records and worthy of being imitated are the only qualified ones to tell us the truth about our lives. Crucial others are a rare breed. 

A worthy wise question to ask:  

“What is the truth about me that can help me become a better me today?”