When you've been hurt by dishonesty, it takes time to heal

Who hasn't been hurt by dishonesty? We singles know what that's like.

I think lying is more common now than I've ever seen it. In a 2002 survey--four years ago--the Josephson Institute of Ethics found that 74 percent of the 12,000 high school students polled admitted that they cheated on exams in the past year.

What's frightening about that statistic is that with that large a percentage, many of those students have to be practicing Christians.

I doubt that the honesty level is any higher in adults.

Lying, cheating and stealing are rampant in the workplace. People lie to cover their mistakes, lie about absenteeism, and lie on their resumes to get hired in the first place.

With so much deception going on, how can a single person avoid being hurt by dishonesty--and just as important--avoid rationalizing that since everybody else is doing it, I might as well too?

Consider the reason

When someone lies and you're the one hurt by dishonesty, your first reaction may be to believe that the person deliberately set out to hurt you.

Most of the time, that's not the case. More frequently, that person lied to cover their own mistake or misdeed. Now that doesn't make it right, nor does it make your hurt any easier to take, but it does shed a new light on the situation.

Some people are routinely dishonest because they have low self-esteem. If they're worried about being perceived as incompetent, they may lie because they're scared.

It's hard to be compassionate and forgiving to such a person, especially when you've been hurt by dishonesty, but it does remind you that it probably wasn't personal. That's just the way that person operates.

Does that excuse it? No, of course not. But when we understand a situation, we're better equipped to deal with it.

Consider the fallout

Dishonesty always has consequences, and usually they're bad. If you've been hurt by dishonesty, that's reason enough not to be dishonest yourself--because you know it will injure others.

When the situation comes down to the other person's word against yours, you can tell your side of the story to the supervisor or whoever the third party is. Don't accuse the other person of dishonesty. Don't say they're a liar. Just tell the truth yourself, and let the third person make their own decision.

Being hurt by dishonesty is a bitter pill to swallow, but it's one of the hazards of living in a fallen world.

Consider your attitude

It's very easy to get bitter. You were wronged, and it wasn't fair. You didn't deserve what happened to you.

There's only one effective solution: Turn it over to God and ask him to heal you.

Many people, Christians included, fall into the trap of becoming cynical because they've been wounded so often.

Jesus gave us good advice on how to protect ourselves in this fallen world:

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

That means we shouldn't stoop to the level of sin and wickedness, but we shouldn't let ourselves become doormats, either.

We can maintain our own personal integrity. We can avoid hurting others. We can resolve to move on with our lives. With God's help, we can be bigger than whatever happens to us. That's the only way to thrive.

How to avoid holding a grudge.

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