We’re not supposed to tell lies. Simple as that. Don’t lie.

Of course, we all tell lies, from the simple lie to the phone caller that you’re busy and can’t come to the phone to making excuses for not going somewhere. Parents trap their children in lies when they ask “Did you do this?” in a voice that screams punishment.

I’ve been trying to think of the worst lies I’ve ever told, but I can’t think of anything that actually hurt someone. Sometimes we tell what we call white lies to protect someone. I’m not sanctimonious about this. I’ve told a lie or two or three in my lifetime. Not big ones though.

I’ve been confronted with a lot of liars in my life. One guy was such a liar that he couldn’t answer a simple question without embellishing it with more lies. A compulsive liar. I never understood the need to do that. The truth was right there and easy to find, so why tell lies that you know would be known as lies?

There are people who live lies. Cheaters, unfaithful spouses, sports cheaters. I’ve known all of those, too. There are those who make their living off of lying to people, taking their money, ruining their lives.

I become more fascinated with the truth, the truth as we see it, the older I get. Everybody sees an incident from their own viewpoint and it becomes their truth. Watching and reading the news coverage of the Woody Allen vs Mia Farrow battles, you can see how it tears across families and lives. I can’t tell whose truth is the real truth.

During the past week, I’ve heard several stories of people I know who have had their lives turned upside down by lies. People of all ages in all parts of the country fooled by people with lies fueled by anger, hurt, drugs, alcohol, and plain stupidity. I have no answers.

Trying to make sense of lies, I’m struck by the people who have believed the lies more than anything, people with good, believing, loving hearts who want to see the best in people, not the worst. The greatest danger is the damage, the disillusionment of those whose trust is destroyed. The damage is if they cannot put the lies in perspective and keep trusting people. Common sense caution is always good, but we need to always feel like we are doing the right thing, that helping someone, loving someone is a natural response to need, to the human condition.

I choose to believe that humans are basically good at heart. If I can’t believe that, I can’t be me. No lie.