Fudging

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” Romans 12:3

Fudging is exaggeration in order to impress someone. It’s a common form of lying. The Oxford Dictionary refers to it as “dishonesty or faking.” The word “fudge” can be traced back 300 years to a Merchant Navy commander named Captain Fudge. He was famous for exaggerating his adventures on the high seas. As a result his crewmen began to call each other “Fudge” when they caught one of their number straying from the truth.

It’s no different today. When the phrase “fudging the truth” is used, it’s referring to someone who exaggerates to improve his or her standing, or to make a point. In Boardroom Reports, Peter Levine tells how the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ran a help-wanted ad for electricians with expertise at using Sontag connectors. The Port Authority had 170 responses from electricians saying they knew how to use Sontag connectors. But there’s no such thing as a Sontag connector. The Port Authority ran the ad simply to find out how many applicants falsified their resume.

I wonder if the Port Authority were surprised at their findings? It’s common knowledge that many success oriented people exaggerate the truth. But stretching the truth is telling a lie. If you’re exaggerating to build yourself up in the eyes of others, you’re in conflict with the ninth commandment (cf. Exodus 20:16). “For exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood” Hosea Ballou.

Don’t be deceived, it’s wrong to shade or exaggerate the facts. There’s no middle ground. You’re either telling the truth or telling a lie. There can be no grey areas. If you’re in the habit of embellishing to impress others, you’re lying. If you’re in the habit of exaggerating for the sake of effect, you’re lying.

Paul brings corrective counsel for the person who fudges. He says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” Romans 12:3.

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