Making something bigger than it is, blowing it up, a stretch of the truth

We always weaken everything we exaggerate La Harpe

Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable.  Hosea Ballou

Man is inclined to exaggerate almost everything – except his own mistakes.  Author Unknown

   You have heard about the “whopper” that got away. Too many of us are prone to “exaggerate”.  The question is “How much exaggerating is too much”?

   When it gets down to it, exaggerating is a form of not telling the truth. What constitutes going beyond acceptable boundaries? There are those who are chronic exaggerators. They know no boundaries. We have been around those who go overboard. Their embellishments get larger and larger until whatever they are telling fails to resemble the original story. When we listen to their tales we know that they have lost touch with reality. Exaggerations can be like inflation. If everyone exaggerates, then to get to the real truth, everything has to be factored, discounted and sifted. Because of the effects of inflation, ten dollars today will only buy what two dollars bought several years ago. Money is not worth as much as it used to be, nor is the real value of what is being said. Another example: the media compromises the truth to “sensationalize” the news.   

    If we exaggerate enough times we tend to believe our own tale and forget the unembellished version. A problem with telling falsehoods or lying is no longer being unable to remember the real truth. There is the element of “failed memory”; as we get older and recount tales from our youth, particularly those having to do with “our accomplishments”, we tend to enhance and embellish our roles and achievements. In our less than perfect memories we were quite the hero and athlete. We amaze ourselves.

    Why it is necessary to exaggerate and embellish? Is it a way to make ourselves feel more important; to win recognition and respect from our peers? Are we ashamed, inadequate and do we really not like ourselves? We feel a need to re-package ourselves in more attractive packaging and to present ourselves in more favorable lighting. Is it really such a bad thing? Anytime we lose the perspective of the truth, it is a problem. When exaggerations go from light and fun, to greatly embellishing and enhancing, we have definitely gone too far. Anytime we purposely exaggerate to enhance our position, to gain an advantage, to become bigger than we are, we have crossed the line. It is a much better philosophy to stick to the truth, avoid exaggerating and embellishing. Tell it like it really is or was.

Challenge:  Do you have problems with exaggeration? Why do you feel the need to do this? Does it make you feel more important and respected? Your friends are probably aware that you are exaggerating. Instead of respecting you they may lose respect for you. Hold yourself to high standards. Stick to the truth. Learn to tell funny stories, but do not rely on exaggerations to try to make yourself look better than you already are.   

Wisdom: Some so speak in exaggerations and superlatives that we need to make a large discount from their statements before we can come at their real meaning.  Tryon Edwards

Spiritual: (NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…Galatians 5:22

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not se. Hebrews 11:1

The truth is that we exaggerate to make us feel better about ourselves. We have issues with loving or even liking our true selves. This is at the core of many of our problems. We mask, hide, lie, exaggerate, accept mediocrity, and compromise because of this. Instead of succumbing to them, we can claim victory over them. We do this by asking God to guide, advise and help us to become what he designed us to be. He will love to help us.

Prayer:  Help me to seek the Truth, know the Truth, and live according to the Truth.


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