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Whenever I find out someone has gossiped or spread some kind of hurtful untruth, I console myself and others with this statement:
“The truth always comes out.”
I believe it wholeheartedly. People can do their best to sabotage your reputation. They can try to deceive others, and they can often succeed…for a little while. But in the long run, I’m a firm believer that the truth always prevails. Whether through time, testimony, refuting evidence, or some other means, the truth always triumphs eventually. And if you’re a Christian, the God of justice and truth fights for you and defends you.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.Exodus 14:14
The truth always comes out. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way last week.
I’m very introverted and a private person. I like to think my words through before I share them, I don’t like being put on the spot, and I try to use wisdom when I do speak. I am far from perfect in this area and always a work in progress, but thankfully my introversion tends to keep my mouth shut enough for me to at least sometimes appear wise. 😉 I often joke that I’m an introvert because whenever I do open my mouth, I embarrass myself and regret it. 😬
I’m also a people-pleaser. I like to call myself a “recovering” people-pleaser, but let’s be honest: the recovery is slow. I hate hurting anyone’s feelings, I don’t like letting people down, and although I do say “no” fairly often (thank you, Boundaries), it usually pains me to do so.
So imagine this: a super-private, people-pleasing introvert discovers in horror that her phone’s read receipts are somehow turned on and have been for who-knows-how-long. 😳😱
This was my discovery last week. It was the stuff of my nightmares. I absolutely panicked.
And you know what? I shouldn’t have.
Why? Because I shouldn’t have had anything to worry about.
But I did. Because I know for a fact that there have been times when I’ve responded to texts hours after initially reading them, exaggerated the truth in my replies, and occasionally flat-out lied to get out of something.
Do any of these sound familiar? (Sure, at times they may be completely true…but we all know that’s not always the case!)
• “Sorry, just saw your text!”
• “Darn, just saw this! Next time!!”
• “I’ve been so busy today I haven’t gotten time to read this till now.”
• “Would have loved to come but am just now seeing this.”
When I respond with, “Sorry, just saw your text!” what I tend to actually mean is “I saw it within the past hour” or “I saw it a while ago but not soon enough to attend whatever function you invited me to.”
But still! I know FULL WELL that’s not how people are interpreting my reply. I respond the way I do because it’s simpler, shorter, and – let’s just say it – nicer. It sounds kinder.
Much kinder than saying, “I read your text, thought about it for a while, and by the time I decided I didn’t want to go, it was too late anyway.”
Or “Sorry, I saw your text and then fell asleep, so now I’m reading it again and choosing to respond when I’m more coherent.”
Definitely kinder than “You’re really not that important to me, so I didn’t prioritize answering your text.”
I have no idea how long my read receipts had been sending out. Most likely since I got a new phone last fall. (Seven months ago. Seven MONTHS! I thought all my settings automatically transferred seven months ago!) Or maybe someone grabbed my phone more recently and turned them on as a joke, and nobody ever told me. I don’t know. But I am horrified either way.
I tend to “exaggerate” the truth while texting as a so-called kindness to others because I want to think my answer through and still make the recipient feel loved and happy. I know certain people will rush my response if they know I’ve read their question. And there are certain questions I just plain don’t want to answer because I know the recipient won’t like my response, so I put it off.
These actions may seem kind at first, but once you realize people have actually known the exact time you’ve read their texts all along, those responses seem significantly less kind and more…deceitful.
“Don’t worry about it,” someone consoled me the other night while I was lamenting about the potential hurt I’ve caused. “Everybody does it!”
That’s not untrue. Pretty much everybody does. But that doesn’t make it right.
I lied. And I got caught.
The truth always comes out. And, ohhh, how hurtful it can be when it does.
I learned two lessons firsthand this week:
The less important one: Always double-check that your read receipts are turned off when you get a new phone if you’re a paranoid introvert like I am. Actually, just double-check no matter what. Routinely. (I’m pretty sure I hadn’t checked mine since I initially turned them off in 2014.)
The more important one: Don’t lie! Don’t exaggerate. Just tell the truth. Answer when you’re ready, but don’t lie about why it’s taken you so long. You don’t even need to give an explanation! But do not tell somebody something that isn’t entirely, 100% true.
The truth always comes out. How are you going to feel when it does? I can tell you from experience: you don’t want to find out if you’ve been the one lying. Make sure you’re telling the truth…even when everybody else isn’t.