I desire to be honest and transparent but struggle with how much is okay to share. My parents taught me that a partial truth was the same as a lie. Am I lying to people if I don’t share all of the details about a situation?
A half truth with the intent to deceive by omission is the equivalent of a lie. The point of a lie is to deceive. To withhold information for your or another person’s protection is often an important use of wisdom and discernment in a given situation.
If you were unaware of all the details pertaining to a situation at the time of response, you are not guilty of lying. You were simply ill informed or misinformed at the moment.
It is possible that you have not had adequate time to process a situation or how you feel about a particular situation. In this case, you aren’t lying. You are simply not ready to engage in a conversation regarding the surrounding issues.
However, opting not to disclose every detail in the moment may be an act of discernment rather than deceit. Not all people can be trusted with sensitive information, and not all environments are appropriate or conducive to engaging in difficult conversations.
Likewise, there are situations where it is more harmful to provide all the details because it can vicariously traumatize the other person. Soldiers continue to protect their loved ones by not describing what they saw and experienced in combat. If you experienced abuse, your spouse may not be able to hear what you endured without it forever changing them. If you engaged in an extra marital relationship, your spouse gets to determine the threshold of information requested.
In the latter scenario, they are attempting to find answers that will satisfy them. Unfortunately, largely, anything you can offer will be of little, if any, benefit. It would be unfair of you to burden them with the added weight of details which can create additional negative emotional triggers. While the offended spouse is the one to determine the breadth and depth of desired information, it is not the offender’s prerogative to purposely hide or attempt to evade the truth.
Proverbs 14:8 (ESV) says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.” The intent of the heart is crucial.
For those of you still struggling with the omission of information being equated unequivocally to lying, let me leave you with this to ponder. The Father knows the exact moment of Jesus’ return, but no one else does, not even Jesus. This is an instance of information being withheld, and I would surmise that none of us would consider that as lying.
Photo by Eleonora Francesca Grotto on Unsplash
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