Twenty years ago when I was just a young, green, and clueless novice monk, our abbot called me in and sat me down.
“It’s not that you’re a liar, but you’ve got a problem with telling the truth. You need to change that.”
Of course, it was a bit of a blow, since I considered myself anything other than a liar, but seeing how obedience goes with being or becoming a monk, I got down to work and spent the following years contemplating ‘Truth’ and observing my behavior.
Slowly it dawned on me that he was right. I didn’t tell lies, but I tended to present things in a way that was beneficial to my goals and so I would bend the truth, rather than break it.
So I changed it. I resolved to never say anything that I knew was untrue, and never to misrepresent things in a way that suited my purposes.
Years later, after I’d become a truthful Ethic whose lips never uttered a lie (note the self-sarcasm, thank you) someone pointed out that I was manipulative. Another heavy blow. I only wanted the best for others, right? Win-win for the world etc? So why was I being accused of this?