After all, my daddy WAS in the oil business and we really DID live near Paris–two impressive details for a ten-year-old who had just moved to a new town…in the middle of the school year…without her daddy.
The truth is my Daddy’s oil business was limited to a huge hose and a big-bellied heating oil truck with the words “Be Sure With Pure” painted across the back. And our close proximity to Paris was a tiny four-room house at the base of Paris Mountain in Greenville, SC. Minor details that would have tarnished the new-kid-on-the-block’s much-needed delusions of grandeur.
But even now, as an adult who loves the Lord and is committed to truth, it would be easy to get caught up in the world’s culture of half-truths. Even in the world of Christian speaking and writing.
Let’s face it, publishing is a competitive business, and especially now with the current state of the industry. So regardless of what we’re pitching, the representative will most likely question us with that dreaded 8-letter word: Platform.
The powers-that-be want to know what else we can bring to the table that to help sell the book or book the event. The speaker’s bureau wants to know our level of speaking experience. If we’re not careful, that’s when delusions of grandeur can take over, and we can find ourselves speaking the language of half-truths.
- “How many times did you speak last year?” Twenty-two, we write with confidence. (No one needs to know the total included 12 monthly devotions read to our ladies SS class, or that we spoke to hundreds as we gave the treasurer’s report for the school PTA.)
- “How many positive reviews have you obtained for the book?” Five. (Mom, grandma, brother, daughter, and granddaughter all said it was great!)
- “What associations will you ask to partner with you in the promotion of this book?” 1)The AARP (after all, I’ve been paying my dues since 1998) and 2)Focus on the Family (I did write that one filler for them fifteen years ago).
- “Who do you know that you can ask to endorse the book?” 1. Beth Moore. (I went to one of her simulcasts.) 2. Cec Murphey (I’m a member of The Writer’s View and he’s a panelist. Isn’t that what he’s supposed to do?) 3. Mary Higgins Clark. (I’ve read all her books and I write like her.)
Okay, I admit, some of them are goofy, but you get the idea. Yes, we might be able to respond with those answers, but are they really true in the truest sense of the word? Or are they half-truths that follow the letter–but not the intent–of the law? Are they claiming the true half of a half-truth, knowing that its goal is to deceive? If ever our words are manipulated to mean something other than the total truth, they are whole lies.
One of my most profound aha moments of Christian life was when I realized that I couldn’t manipulate God. Regardless of how delicately I tiptoed around the bottom line; regardless of how true the true half was; regardless of the well-chosen words that came from my mouth or my pen or my computer keys…God knew my heart and my intent. I couldn’t manipulate Him.
And I can’t expect Him to bless my writing and speaking efforts if I try to manipulate reality through well-chosen, well-placed, deceit-intentioned words.
And that, my friends, is the truth.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Proverbs 12:19 (NIV)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
Grace and truth be yours in abundance,