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A Sound Surprise

Maybe we should always tell the truth, but surprises rely on lying and can be quite fun for the person getting the surprise. It may seem obvious to some that hiding a surprise should be OK. However, it’s important to think about what this means about any “rule of truth”. Why is it OK to lie about a surprise? It’s still lying. Yet, instinctively, anyone who has experienced such a surprise or delivered such a surprise understands it’s more fun than harmful. It may also reveal more nuance to the importance of truth.

One of the key motives behind a surprise is that there is a hidden gift or reward awaiting the recipient after everything is set in place. It’s not even just in the gift itself but also in the experience of something surprising. If it is elaborate, the recipient is often amused by how much work went into creating the surprise as well as how well it was hidden from view up until the time it is delivered. The fact that it is a surprise makes the gift an event and experience in a new way. It can show how much people care about us to go to such effort to deliver a gift. All in all, it is a good experience, at least for some people who appreciate and enjoy such surprises.

In general, truth is a gift itself, but I think there are times when it is not. Some truth is difficult to face, and shoving it on someone can be more harmful than helpful. That doesn’t necessarily mean it should be hidden entirely, but perhaps one should approach revealing the truth more carefully and allow another person some time to react and process more difficult truths.

I think truth should include an element of care, just like the example of the surprise. The motive to speak truth should be out of good for the person hearing the truth. We should know them well enough to reveal certain truths in a way that they can understand and face with as much grace as possible. We should also make it our goal to be helpful at the level of the person we are trying to help not speak truth for the truth itself. Truth has no feelings nor any reason to be other than it is. People, however, are growing every day and need to have space to grow into, especially if the truth threatens to box them in.

I think we must always speak the truth with respect for the person and where they are coming from in as much as we can.

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