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serving jesus christ the king

Truth, lies and acceptance

There was an item on the radio the other day about honesty in business, in particular in interviews and CVs. It seems that a high proportion of professionals don’t care much for the truth when it comes to advancing their careers. Dubious claims of degrees and promotion and false referees abound.

Joey Lyons of Checkback International, a pre-employment screening agency, said that 30% of all candidates’ CVs that come their way have some sort of fraudulent claim. When you bear in mind that only people applying for top jobs have their CVs screened by these people, that’s startling.

One employer told of how suspicions were raised when he had rung the referees of a particularly good applicant. So he then rang the company that the referees claimed to work for—the company had never heard of the referees themselves, never mind the applicant!

What is it makes people do that? Unsurprisingly the answer is that people want to stand out from the other candidates. Ironically one of the things Lyons says they look for is a CV that doesn’t stand out. These are the people who prove worthwhile in the long run.

It appears honesty does pay.

It would be easy to point the finger, but we need to ask how often do we tweak the truth so as not to disappoint others, or so that others will think better of us?

Try this – when you tell stories about yourself, how often do you come out on top? How often do the stories reflect well on your abilities, gifts, prowess, wisdom, strength, skill etc.?

How often do stories get embellished fractionally, just to let the light fall on us slightly more favourably?

Why do we do it? Isn’t it for some sort of acceptance or approval? We want people to think better of us than they might—whether it is in friendship, business, family or school. Whether we are business people, or children in the playground, we tweak the truth to improve our approval prospects, afraid that people wouldn’t like or accept us for who we are, or what we have or haven’t done.

Something in us wants to be accepted by those who matter to us. The irony is that embroidering the truth often leads to a hauntedness in our relationships—what if they find out what I’m really like?

We are wired for acceptance—yet painfully aware that we come up short. So where can we find an acceptance that doesn’t require a pretence? It’s found in honesty, not first of all with others, but with ourselves before God. When we are honest with him and find acceptance with him, we can drop the pretence and the façade of lies.

Ironically the truth sets us freer than the mask ever did. Free to be the person God made us to be. You see, with Jesus we find that we are worse than we ever realised, but can be made into something better than we ever dreamt was possible.

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."