LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATISTICS

How can you tell if a politician is lying?  His lips are moving.  19th Century  British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “There are three kinds of lies;  lies, damn lies and statistics”.  His point was you can make statistics say whatever you want.  “Statistics never lie but liars use statistics”.  “50% of all liars use statistics”.  The many permutations are seemingly endless.  Personally, today I am more concerned with lies and damn lies, than statistics.  In many ways Canadians are very honest.  Readers Digest did an experiment leaving 10 wallets with $50 in them in 12 major cities.  They then watched to see if the finder would use the contact information in the wallet to return it.  Toronto fared the worst with only 4 of the 10 wallets being returned, but Moncton NB saw all ten returned to their rightful owner.  This experiment was conducted all over the world and no city matched Moncton’s honesty.   I guess I am glad that I don’t live amongst thieves, but sometimes it feels like I live amongst liars.  50% of Canadians have admitted that they have shop lifted at least once in their lives.  76% say they have cheated on a High School test.  85% of young people say they have lied to their parents about something.  Of course who knows who how accurate these statistics are…those surveyed could be lying,  and there I go again using statistics. You all know what that makes me!

This summer I bought an outboard motor from a marina just over the border in Minnesota.  I mentioned to the owner I was going to have to pay PST and GST taxes on it when I brought it back across the line.  He immediately offered to write the bill of sale up for less than half the purchase price.  I told him that I was not prepared to do that and I would just assume pay the extra taxes than lie to a border official.  He looked genuinely perplexed when I asked him, “Sure it’s another $250, but what price is virtue?”  Oh, don’t get me wrong, it pained me to pay the extra taxes at the border and I entertained the thought of how easy it would have been all the way home.  I really could not have been discovered.  I paid in cash.  I would have the bill from a ‘reputable’ dealer.  It would have been the perfect crime.  Muhahahahah! Muhahahahah!

Someone once discribed integrity as, ” who you are when no one is looking”.  It is easy to be honest when you are trying to look good or when you know you might otherwise be discovered.  It’s another thing when we know, or at least think, we can get away with it.  I’ll spare you the statistics, but the number of people who cheat on their income taxes, say nothing when undercharged at the cash regisiter or lie to their bosses (“I just called in sick …”) is staggering.  (Take the survey and see how you stack up.  http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/how-honest-are-you/article28518.html Be honest now!)

Proverbs 11:3  says, The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.  There is a very powerful principle here.  We can let integrity be our guide.  My young-adult children are now discovering that life presents them with many moral dilemmas.  We talk openly about the peer pressure they face almost daily.  When they ask how they decide what to do in a given situation, I always give them the same advice.  Decide every morning that whatever choices you are faced with that day, you are always going to ‘try’ to do the right thing.  In doing so we have actually made 10,000 decisions in advance.  Truth be told (irony intended), we almost always know what the truth is, we are just not sure we want to tell it.  Many times the truth comes with a price tag, but in the greater scheme of things, it is never too expensive. 

No man can purchase his virtue too dear, for it is the only thing whose value must ever increase with the price it has cost us.  Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it.  Metamorphoses 43 BC -17AD Roman Poet

 

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13 Responses to LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATISTICS

  1. Gord says:

    Before I accepted Jesus, I did most of those things except cheating on a test. That never made any sense to me. I did those things because I didn’t have a guide. There was no intention to be dishonest, but there was also no intention to be good. It was just “whatever.” What a difference it made to be a Christian!

  2. Leora says:

    Cudos to you Pastor Mark for being a person of integrity in a dishonest world! You passed the test! I enjoy your blogs & your God given sense of humor! Blessings on you!!!

  3. Alana says:

    Hi Pastor Mark, this is just a Ha ha from Derf Satire …maybe it will give you some additional fun ideas for your comments!

    Religious services held between church festivals

    CINCINNATI, OH – Area residents were shocked recently after arriving at local churches expecting a festival but instead finding that Sunday Mass services in progress.

    Local clergy realized that holding Mass between festivals may be a bit confusing for residents of Cincinnati. Father Sean O’Brian of St. Margaret explained, “People finally seem to understand what’s going on after a while. We try to slowly assimilate the crowds by using funnel cake scented incense within the chapel. We also allowed alcohol and gambling in all areas other than the altar and we turned the holy water basin into a duck pond game.

    Local festival goer Derek Freeman eventually caught on, “I knew something was up when I saw the parking lot wasn’t all that full,” he said. “I’m glad my old lady explained it to me before I tried to play ring toss on those memorial candles.”

    Other local churches are also finding ways to combine the huge popularity of festivals with their religious services. Ideas include replacing communion wine with draft beer, making the collection plate interactive with pull-tabs, and replacing the sermon with a group discussion on where everyone went to high school.

  4. Sandi says:

    Loved this. It goes well with the phrase, “being faithful in the little things.” When we think no one is looking–God is. Today, honesty isn’t the rule–it’s the exception. When you’ve been undercharged for something and discover it later, it takes extra time and effort to go back to the store to pay the difference. That extra effort results in big payoffs–it shows the customer service personnel that you are a person of integrity, and it restores their faith in humanity, even if just for a moment. Even better, it makes ‘em wonder what you’ve got. When we do it with our kids in tow, it becomes a teachable moment.

  5. Lesley says:

    I feel that my life has been filled with lies; no one has ever been as I thought they were. Now that I’m finally learning to trust others, I don’t I know if a person is lying, or if I’m just in old habits of being suspicious. I’m learning to trust the Lord but find that I am no longer sure whether I’m trusting Him (God), or whether I’m letting someone off the hook in my attempt to trust God. It’s so confusing…

    I hate lies and liars. I realize that I myself is included in that to some extent, but just wanted to say that all we CAN do is to try. We’re human and will screw up, and that it’s not bad to admit that. It shows we’re in growth. Anyone looking at another through the cross will/should show mercy and grace; the same kind that Christ offers us.

    So, in the midst of my doubts and suspicions, I will cling to that old wooden cross and thank God that the answer is in Him and no where else. There is ALWAYS freedom along the way, even if we’re never totally freed, and that, is enough to rejoice in.

  6. Leon says:

    Hi Pastor Mark!
    Love your program, and was delighted to have you speak at our church in Melfort SK for our grand opening.
    I really enjoyed your “honesty” on lying, and I think you really hit the whack-a-mole on the head! How many lies do we have to tell to become a liar? According to God’s standards…only one. I really believe that we Christians should have lives that are above reproach.
    God bless!

  7. Sandi says:

    I’m back. Remember the kids in tow teachable moment comment? Well, I’m…busted.

    Today my 9-year-old son and I were having an interesting conversation on this very topic. He was talking about how he was going to borrow DS games and copy them onto a universal card, and then return them, so that way, he would be able to get a bunch of DS games for free. This didn’t sit well with me, and I told him so, and explained why. Without missing a beat, he countered with, “But Mom, then why do you borrow recipe books from the library and photocopy them and then return the book? Isn’t that the same thing as copying DS games? Hmmm, something I had never considered. Until now. Looks like I’m not so innocent after all…

  8. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Hello again. This message you wrote Pastor Mark is right on the mark.

    I was faced with an integrity dilemma regarding apartment seeking.

    Why do caretakers assume that their bosses do not know about the favors they offer tenants?

    I always know something is wrong. When my spirit says RED FLAG.

    Evelyn

  9. karyn says:

    Does exaggerating a story or illustration for a Sunday message count as a lie? Just a thought!

  10. Keith Mander says:

    Yes, I agree. However, it is tough, as we can end up losing relationships and some of our community because of it. I do agree, that our best hope is to make this decision ahead of time, or every morning as you suggsted to your children.

  11. CB says:

    About photocopies,
    Check CanCopy regulations. Generally, you can make photocopies of less than 10% of a work for personal use only… But there’s a bunch of guidelines, so check it out for your conscience’ sake. Why else would libraries have photocopiers? They have licences for multiple use/distribution of books, videos, etc.
    Not all photocopying is illegal.
    But comparing it to downloading songs, games, etc, without payment is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. A different set of rules.

  12. CB says:

    P.S.
    Electronic resources( music,Software, etc.) copying rules are also covered under Cancopy I think, for your reference. At least somewhat.

  13. Clarence Whelan says:

    God has instructd me to contact you.
    Here is my email address.
    We await to here from you.
    Clarence

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