More than once I have held the model railway engine tight in my fist (to those who like details the accompanying photo shows an N gauge LNER General Purpose Tank Engine in LNER green). I have then said to a gathered Primary School assembly “The original item of that which I have in my hand weighed 85 tons, do you believe I can hold this in my hand?” I have been very clear about the statement and usually the children haven’t really listened so they hear 85 tons in my hand and I couldn’t possibly hold that much therefore the answer is “No!”. The end result was that I would ask if they thought I didn’t tell the truth – the end result was some confusion.
I would them hold up this tiny N gauge model, show it and say I’d told the truth, the original engine did weigh 85 tons. The model though, is just that, part of my model railway collection. I emphasised though that I always told them the truth, anything they heard from me they could trust. I would never lie to them about anything, I would always tell them the truth no matter how difficult the topic.
That makes you think though doesn’t it? I remember watching the film “Carry on up the Khyber” some years ago, seeing Charles Hawtree and another actor, dressed as British Infantry guarding the Khyber Pass (actually a farm gate somewhere in Wales I think!) After a rather hasty attack the other soldier is wounded then comforted by Charles, the wounded soldier asks how he is and the traditional response comes back it’s not too bad. The wounded soldier (Ginge) responds that he wants the truth and Charles responds “Alright Ginge, you’re dying !” (Ginge dies dramatically!)
Telling the truth comes in many forms and ways and sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do. Many of us have struggled with this whole concept and maybe more than once have we told a “white lie” because somehow it felt less cruel than the truth? Be truthful now especially gentlemen when your wife/partner has asked “Does my bottom look big in this?” (ladies it can apply to you too). Does there follow a lie or are we followers of the Margaret Thatcher School of Response and are we economical with the truth? Is truth what falls from your mind and mouth and is it guided by the Holy Spirit in all things?
John Pugh (Rev) Wymeswold Methodist