If the sum of all sins were to be weighed in the balance, falsehood would, on its own, countervail them; nay its evils would even outweigh them and its detriment prove greater. It were better for thee that thou shouldst be a blasphemer and tell the truth than that thou shouldst mouth the formulas of faith and yet be a liar. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Trustworthiness, p. 12)
I love the visual imagery in this quote. There are certain sins which weigh heavily on my mind long after I’ve asked God to forgive them, and yet, compared to lying, they weren’t that important. I like to think of myself as fairly honest and trustworthy, yet recently it’s come to my mind that I do a lot of lying to myself. I don’t think that’s unusual – lots of people are in denial about something. I’ve covered a lot of these in my previous article: The Lies We Tell Ourselves and We are Not Our Thoughts
But what about white lies? A white lie is typically about a small or seemingly unimportant matter told to avoid hurting another person. Our culture accepts white lies and even condones them. Some studies have shown that Americans tell (on average) 1-2 lies a day. We might tell lies to flatter (no you don’t look fat) or to avoid conflict (it was on sale). No matter our motives, we lie to protect ourselves and, in the end, lies only harm us. One lie could lead to another, creating a slippery slope that erodes trust leading to suspicion and eroding unity. Since everything Bahá’u’lláh came for was to promote unity, and all His laws lead us there, it makes sense that lying would outweigh all other sins. When we strive to be authentic, fighting through the awkwardness of potentially hurting, disappointing or frustrating people, we learn how to deliver the truth with words as mild as milk, which brings people together and strengthens the bonds of affection and trust.
Knowing that with God’s help, I can find the courage to be truthful, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation