From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Deceptive affection: Shalt thou sometimes lie?

Ten Commandments     (Photo by Ji-Elle)
Okay, so we know that the Bible urges:  Thou shalt not lie.  This commandment certainly has a ring of authority to it.  But should we interpret it to mean never?

Human nature being what it is, psychologist Jamie Turndorf encourages some wiggle room. She warns that relationships can be easily harmed “with the verbal wounds of a truthful tongue.”

Answering “Do these jeans make me look fat?” with a resounding “Yes!” is one such instance.  Putting your arm around a disgruntled partner when you’d rather be bolting out the door is a more compassionate choice.

Buddhist teachings have advised that these three questions be considered before tongues begin wagging:  Is it true?  Is it necessary?  Is it kind?  Paul, too, cautioned against sounding like a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” with no love in the mix.

Empathy, after all, consists of varying degrees of pretense. We’re often pretending to truly understand another’s thoughts, feelings and perspectives.  When we say, “I get it,” what we really mean is, “I’ve had experiences that seem somewhat similar to yours.” Or we may simply mean, “I’m sad that you’re sad.”

For better or for worse, human personalities merge about as awkwardly as human bodies.  It seems that complete unity is only possible within spiritual realms.  Spiritual Truth is not just a matter of telling it like it is, but simply a matter of It Is.


Copyright February 16, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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