The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth?

Today, we’re following up—from the heroine’s perspective—on last Monday’s discussion about whether a hero who lies (for the sake of his job) can be a man of honor.
The heroine of Deep Cover is Ginny Bryson who says,  “I’d rather know the truth than be lied to out of some misguided notion that I’ll somehow be happier or safer.”
Do you feel the same? If you said yes, are you sure?
I freely admit that there are times people have disclosed things to me that I would’ve have been much happier not knowing about. Every smart husband knows how not to answer the question—Honey, does this dress make me look fat?
And yes, if you read my book and hate it, choosing to keep that to yourself won’t hurt my feelings in the least. Honest!
I’m sure each of us can remember a time when we’ve sugarcoated the truth to spare someone’s feelings. It seems like a noble thing to do, don’t you think?
Yet, not necessarily. Sometimes I have to step back and consider whether my words will help or hinder the other person’s understanding of themselves or their circumstances. 
Your turn: What do you think about Ginny’s perspective? Care to share an example from your own experience?
Join me Wednesday to learn how I use lies to develop my characters when plotting my story. And for fun, we’ll play with the strategy on the hero we dreamt up during last Wednesday’s brainstorming session.

7 Comments

  • I definitely prefer truth. But I think truth can be gentle and loving. It doesn’t have to be abrasive. Yet it also might hurt but I’d rather be hurt now than believing a lie my whole life. I try to be honest with others too. Still, there are ways to be honest without hurting someone (like if they ask about their new hat, if I think it’s ugly, personally, I might just tell them I’m glad they found something they love.) Evasion. Which brings us to, is evasion lying? *grin*

  • Evasion, hmm…reminds me of a line my hero in Deep Cover thinks: The hallmark of a successful undercover cop was stating facts that led a person to the most expedient assumptions. 🙂

  • Hmmmm…I think it depends on the circumstances too. Sometimes knowing the truth wouldn’t be earthshattering one way or the other. But it’s those big truths that are harder to navigate.

    I had a friend who was diagnosed with cancer but she didn’t want to tell everyone — especially her family. I was on the in from the beginning and it was horrible to know before her own mother and father did. It put me in a complicated situation — in effect having to lie (even if it was by omission) in order to be true to my friend.

    It was very difficult when she finally couldn’t hide the truth from her parents any more and, ironically, I understood just why she wanted to put off telling them for as long as she could. Let’s just say it was a dysfunctional family and they didn’t know how to love and support their daughter during the time.

    I’ll even be blunt and say that her cancer became ‘all about them’ instead of her. High drama and angst for the remainder of her life. Even at her sickest, she was engaged in coping with her parents loss before that loss had even happened.

    So regarding the whole truth and nothing but — I’d say if you are someone who means that, make sure you’re someone who can takee it. And that means making sure that you can look beyond yourself and your own emotional needs so that you can understand and empathize with the truth-teller.

    Hope this makes sense!

  • Oh Kav, what a heartbreaking story and a good example of a hard truth, that gives me uncomfortable insights into my own youth.

    When my mom was first diagnosed with a slow-growing cancer (I was just starting high school.) She never told me, probably to keep me from worrying.

    But I can see how as a teen, like your friends’ parents, I might’ve made it “about me”. I do recall a grade 12 English teacher giving me a “talking to” after reading a journal entry that was probably a little woe-is-me after I guessed what was going on with my mom. Thank the Lord for people like her who speak the truth in love to urge us to look to how we might help others rather than feel sorry for ourselves.

  • Good post, Sandra – – and it was interesting to read comments from others. I prefer truth, but feel there must be a “balance” (my sleepy brain cannot think of another word at the moment). As some of your other readers have said–it doesn’t have to be harsh or abrasive. It can be truth with gentleness and love. ~ And I suppose the situation would determine how to handle the truth (I truly believe there ARE times when it doesn’t even need to be mentioned). But that doesn’t mean a person should LIE! Yep, I think circumstances would determine “how much” truth should be told, or if it’s best to say nothing.

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.