I am going to get ahead of the game this week on this book since I will be leaving and don’t want to forget to do my discussion with my sister! This week my chapter addresses the commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Pretty straight forward and a good motto to live by—basically that honesty is the best policy. I have always pushed for honesty and sometimes it is really, really difficult to be honest about things because it might hurt someone’s feelings or put a wedge in a friendship but in the end it is really the best practice, don’t you think?
This chapter really didn’t do a whole lot to challenge me or bring much new to light but then perhaps it is because I am a little distracted right now. Chittister emphasizes in this chapter many students admit to cheating on tests or other things in school and warns us about these individuals being our next leaders. She paints a pretty glum picture in my humble opinion and I would like to think that it is not as gloomy as she says it is. But perhaps my naivete is showing here, you think?? I do think that it is not a new thing–there have always been cheats and liars and most likely there always will be. I am guilty. I have lied. And not just once. I have embellished a story to make it sound better. I have lied to spare feelings. I have lied to get myself out of a sticky situation. Even though I tout honesty as THE thing it does not mean that I am without sin here, believe me. I wish I were.
Chittester speaks of speech as a sacred act and indicates that getting away with a clever untruth is part of what it takes to become a success. That made me pause—I think that might be a little harsh and an overstatement but maybe in her world that is what she has encountered. She states that “to speak is make a reality” and that “Lying obscures the real self—even from the self.” I would agree that sometimes lies do that.
She sums up the chapter with this exerpt: “It is a commandment meant to preserve an entire people from the cancer of mistrust, the individual from the pitfalls of pride, and the society from living with the corrosive effects of a culture of deceit.” Food for thought I think but once again I think she is pretty negative on this.