To Tell the Truth


It is an all-time great game show. To Tell the Truth debuted in 1956. Hosts have included Bud Collyer, Garry Moore, Joe Garagiola, Lynn Swann, Alex Trabek, and John O’Hurley. The show features a panel of four celebrities whose task is to correctly identify which contestant is telling the truth about his or her unusual occupation.

The 2016 version just began, hosted by Anthony Anderson. As my wife and I watched the other night, we guessed who was telling the truth in each of the five segments. Both of us got it right one time, missing four. A blind dog would have done better.

In the 1960s I remember being able to identify the liars and the truth-tellers at a much higher rate of success – and I was just a young boy. Here’s my take on it. We, as human beings, have become better liars with time. That’s what we do. We lie.

Dr. Robert Feldman, of the University of Massachusetts, conducted an interesting study. He concluded that on average, people tell two to three lies in a ten-minute conversation. It also showed that only 40 percent are able to go ten minutes without lying, even if prepared for the task. A study in England revealed that men lie twice as often as women. A different study concluded that men and women lie at the same rate, but about different subjects.

Bottom line – we struggle To Tell the Truth. In the world of addiction, it is common to say, “We lie. That’s what addicts do.” And we know that the average person has 1.3 addictions. We lie.

Is there any hope? Yes. Jesus said to stop lying. Honesty is commanded through the Old Testament. So apparently, it is possible to live a life of total honesty. It starts by being honest with God, then ourselves. Until we are completely honest with God and ourselves, we will never be honest with others.

Mark Twain famously said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” As my mind and memory slowly slip away (not so slowly at times), I appreciate that advice.

Try it – just for a day. Be honest. Start by being honest with God, then yourself. And then, when you talk to others today, tell the truth. It may not be easy, but it’s easier than remembering everything you say.


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