Maybe we all tell harmless lies from time to time, hopefully not as notorious as the boy who cried wolf, but it happens. Often we feel those lies are doing good, thinking we are creating shelter or protection. But in the light of truth, do those little white lies really serve a good purpose and in the end are those off color truths really worth it?
I spent some time serving jury duty recently and experienced how quickly a little white lie can explode! There were around 60 of us jurors waiting for the jury selection to begin. We all were seated in the court room, listening to some preliminary trials. One very young skinny Mother of two, was standing before the judge, representing her boyfriend who was not present. Here is how the lowdown went!
The judge never cracked a smile. The young girl stood before him as he asked are you so and so? She replied, “no, my name is Debbie Mint (name has been changed to protect the innocent), but I am here for Jimmy Jones.”
“So where is Jimmy Jones at today?”, the judge dryly asked.
Nervously, she replied, “He is in Indiana, on a job.”
Quickly the judge snapped back, “Did you not come before me last week and say the same thing? Why is he not here today?”
Again, “he is in Indiana on a job.”
Taking a deep breath, the judge carefully asked the next question, “So you are here to represent him, do you understand the responsibility of taking on this task? Do you understand you are liable, especially if the truth is not told?”
“Yes your honor”, her voice became small.
Us jurors, listening in, were paying attention now as the tension began to fill the air. Some of us began to lean forward to hear her weak voice. The officers, assistants and other lawyers were also tuning into the unfolding drama.
With a voice of precision, the judge gave her a stern look and replied, “So you fully understand that you must tell the truth. No lies will be tolerated in this courtroom.”
The girl shook her head up and down, remaining speechless.
Quickly the judge moved to swear her in and then batted several question at her.
“You look very young. How old are you?”
“Eighteen”, she replied.
“Do you have any children?”, he looked her squarely in the eyes.
“Yes, I have two”
Most of us jurors were already judging this gal, only eighteen and with two kids! We began to stir in our seats for a better hearing position, for her voice was growing smaller with each answer.
“And where are you children while you are here?”, the judge continued his rapid fire of questions.
“Do you have a job?”
You could hear whispers from the courtroom on that answer. No job, but can put kids in daycare?
“Who takes care of your kids?”
Taking in a deep breath the judge continued, “I want to remind you again, there are consequences to lying. If I feel you are not truthful, you can be held in contempt of court. Do you understand this?”
In a smaller voice yet, “Yes your honor.”
Quickly the judge asked the golden question again, “Is he really in Indiana?”
With her head bowed and us jurors leaning forward, straining to hear, she replied, “No, he is not in Indiana.”
Snapping back the judge began to bring the hammer down, “Is he out in the car waiting on you? Is he at your house or here in town?”
She continued to claim she did not know exactly where he was at.
Quickly the judge spoke, “Miss, I appreciate you coming clean and telling the truth, however, I do believe you told the same story last week and am convinced you were lying to the court then. Now today you come and lie more. You have lied to the courts twice and I am ruling you spend 30 days in jail. Please follow the sheriff to the county jail! There will be no lying in this courtroom!” Down came the gavel!
The room began to fill with gasps and jaws dropping! The judge was indeed quick and precise in needling out the truth. The young girl went with the sheriff, with her back to us. I can bet there were tears in her eyes.
So tell me now, are those little white lies worth it? The real irony here in this story is the white lie I tell by giving false names for protection!