You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ~Middle Eastern Proverb

You lie online. It might be a lie to sell something or a lie to make yourself feel better. You might lie to help somebody else or perhaps to make another feel worse. Perhaps you just exaggerate. You brag. That’s not lying, right? That’s just expanding something to be more than it should be. Surely there’s no harm in that?!

There probably wouldn’t be any harm if we didn’t live such nuanced lives.

A required smile is just a glint away from a genuine grin. A really great product is only a few words away from a product that often fails to work. A cool link is a millisecond away from a link we’re sharing just because somebody shared a link of our own.

It’s all nuance.

The truth that lies within you does not arise as some blazing scepter for the world to see. It peeks out in wisps and glimmers through the nuance of your everyday life. It flits about the stream of clicks and characters you produce as you move about and share online.

Have you seen it? Can you point to a conversation and say, “Aha! There. That is my truth!” or are you forced to rifle through your words and excuse yourself for not lying overtly?

My sister often makes a joke that, “Everybody runs faster online.” in reference to the ways people lie about things online. But if we allow the behavior of the masses to choose the way in which we share or muzzle our truth, what then? What happens to the community made up of people who only pretend to like each other? Is that a Tribe that will bring about real change in the world or will it end in a disappointing trail of tears?

I fear for any community that sets aside truth in the pursuit of short-term goals. I fear for any person who throws away their convictions in the name of fame and glory. Can we not build real communities that trust each other or have we been sucked into an echo chamber that insists community is about the number of people who sign up and has nothing to do with the number that shows up? Are we so jaded as a people that we shall always withhold good things from those who do not make an effort to lie to our faces with caramelized hyperbole?

Will we continue to lie? Or will we take another look in the mirror and ask our tired reflection to show us a bit of truth?

If we can find that truth and hold it tightly with unwavering palms, I believe we will find freedom. Not freedom from work, or pain, or tribulation. But freedom from the tiny guilts that gouge away at our joy.

When we can look at our conversations and say, “Yes, there is my truth.” I think we’ll discover more grins in our day and hands that reach out to catch us when we start to fall.

Image: Giampolo Macarig

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