Monday, August 13, 2012

Is honesty the best policy?

Much like a recent starring Jim Carey, the author in the book To Be Perfectly Honest decides to tell only the truth.  He keeps a diary of his experiences in order to chart his progress.  The author, Phil Callaway, is also a minister and draws frequent inspiration and examples from Biblical passages.

During his truth-telling experiment, the author comes upon several questions which might not have been apparent at first.  One is: does he volunteer the truth when doing so would be hurtful or embarrassing to the person involved.  I would think that telling the truth would involve only direct questions, but an example he gives is when he offers his wife unsolicited negative comments on dinner.  If he found the food unappetizing (and it was only one portion of the meal, not the entire thing), it seems to me as if discretion would have trumped the need to "always tell the truth" -- especially when no one had asked his opinion!

Another dilemma that he confronts:  does God condone lying in the Bible?  He cites numerous instances where lying is forbidden, but also has some examples where lives were spared and other good deeds accomplished by lying.  I think this is an issue that most people struggle with:  will it do more harm than good to tell the truth?

Although the author speaks almost constantly of his faith, he is reassuringly human, wishing all manner of painful and unpleasant punishments on those who wrong him (and it seems as if quite a large number of people do this).  He also seems to be somewhat enamored of his own gifts, relating stories about how women throw themselves at him (but he valiantly resists temptation!), how people he counsels "can't stop thanking him" and how he generously offers free copies of his books (to people who haven't exactly been begging for copies!).

I enjoyed reading about the author's experiences and his struggles.  The book has a section of Discussion Questions in the back that help to delve deeper into some of the issues that cropped up during the year of truth telling.

To learn more about he book and author, check out these links:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


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