October 21, 2009

Splitting Hairs, or do gray areas exist

This is a true story:

A man comes upon a woman in a stopped car. He forces her door open and pulls her out of the car. He then binds her and stabs her multiple times, throws her in the back of his truck, and drives away.

How would you judge this man? Is he a criminal? A monster? Do you hate him?

Now let me tell you the same story again.

A woman passes out behind the wheel of her car and veers off into a ditch. An ambulance comes. The EMT forces her door open and pulls her out and puts her on a gurney, securing her to the gurney. He then inserts an IV into her arm, loads her into the ambulance, and drives her to the hospital.

Now how do you see the man? Is he still a monster? Or is he a hero?

Granted, this is a fictionalized account of a real-life situation, so bear with me on the details. But this is the important part: both stories are technically true. However, this is why when a person testifies, they vow to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," according to the law. Because unless you know the whole truth, it's easy to reach incorrect conclusions.

So, here's the deal. If I were to tell you the first story, and say, "You see that person over there? They have done ." Have I told you the truth? Yes. Are you able to create an accurate opinion of the person in question? Or, does your impression of the person change from story 1 to story 2?

Or, let me ask it this way. Say I tell you story 1 (while knowing story 2), naming a specific person as the "man" in the story. You then later somehow learn story 2. What does that do to your impression of me? Have I lied to you? I could say that I never technically lied to you. I did not tell you anything actually untrue. You reached the false impression of the man on your own. All I did was relay the facts.

So, am I a liar? Am I responsible for you reaching a false conclusion? Have I misled you? Bear in mind, I knew both stories, but I chose to only tell you the first one. I know the whole truth, but I intentionally tell you only the truth and nothing but the truth. Was that wrong? Was that dishonest? Or is the fact that you have been deceived your own fault, with no responsibility on my part? Is there a difference between deception and lies? Is this a gray area?
Please pray for my friend. We just found out this morning she had a miscarriage a couple of weeks ago. This is not the first. They (she and her husband) didn't even know they were pregnant, but those of you who have been through it know that doesn't matter very much. They are really hurting. I won't tell you her name because she doesn't want a lot of attention (for various reasons) but please keep her in your prayers.
I so want this (from VS):


  1. I agree - A story can come from so many angles and mess up how people take it all together.

    What brought all this up?


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