Four college room mates visited a neighboring school for an end of year fraternity party. They returned to their own campus late Sunday night. Much to their horror the 7am alarm didn’t go off and they missed the 8 o’clock final in their ethics class. The professor was a stickler and accepted excuses only in extreme cases. Oversleeping wouldn’t get them any sympathy, so they decided as a group to say they had a flat tire on the drive back home. Then they would ask if they could take the test the next day.

Much to their surprise the professor gave them a make up test time of 1pm the following day. They arrived refreshed and ready for the exam. The professor sat the guys in the four corners of the room with the test paper face down. He explained he was leaving on a trip the next day and didn’t really have the time to grade a lengthy make up test so there was only one question. “Take your time,” he said, “and put your paper on my desk when you are finished. Grades will be posted tomorrow. You may begin.”

Each of the room mates turned over the paper and were horrified to see the one question … Which tire?

And this was an ethics class. I heard once, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember which version of the story you told. The pressure to remember details is off.” These guys were busted. If they had told the truth in the first place, the professor might not have let them take the exam and they would have gotten a 0. But, they made up a story and they were going to get a 0. Looking back, I’m sure they realized telling the truth would have been easier.

The truth always floats to the top. It may not be for a long time, but it eventually does. The problem with “little white lies” is they tend to grow darker and larger with time. What sometimes starts out as seemingly innocent can roll into something very deceptive. So a lie is told to cover a lie.

When you’re tempted to stretch things or create a story for what you think is protection, ask yourself, “Which tire?” The truth is so easy to remember.

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