I remember the first time I lied to my father. I was about 9 years old and I had gone to the movies with a friend and we were supposed to see a rated PG movie but instead we saw “Stand By Me, which was rated “R.”

We bought tickets for the other movie and snuck into the 1980’s River Phoenix flick. When it was over, my father picked up my friend and I from the movies and asked us how it went. Sitting in the back seat starring down at my lap or out the window, I gave him one-word answers. It felt horrible to lie and what made it worse was that if I told the truth it would also get my friend in trouble. I ended up telling the truth later that night before I went to bed. I did get in some trouble and my friend was pretty upset with me but after about a week, it all blew over.

That day I learned the meaning of the “truth will set you free.” I will never forget the anxiety I felt, the knot in my stomach and just the shame I had for lying to someone who trusted me.

Most of us would agree that lies are told out of fear of what the truth will bring to the table. I’ll never forget watching the breaking news when former President Bill Clinton was accused of cheating on his wife but he denied the charges. Although I was disgusted at his behavior I was devastated that he lied. It has always baffled me the extremes people take to cover up a lie; the time they waste and the people they hurt.

Why do we all think we are so above making mistakes? It doesn’t matter who we are; teachers, judges, politicians, priests, mothers, fathers, doctors or police officers, we all make mistakes and sometimes we make really big ones. But that’s all they are; mistakes, lapses in judgment, they are moments of which we made a bad choice. But if we tell the truth it stays at one bad choice and it doesn’t need to start costing us more of our integrity more of our self-worth or more of our respect.

If we are brave enough to be honest, the truth will truly set us fee. For me, honesty is the clearest form of courage that exists. Unfortunately I feel like in our society, bravery is illustrated on a more physical level. We tell our kids when they fall and they don’t cry that they are being brave. Really? So it’s brave to hold in your tears when you’re hurt? Bravery is not in the masking of expression; it is in the honesty of expression. It is having the courage to tell someone, for better or worse, the truth.

Recently, in both our local and national news there have been a couple of different stories of people who because of their lies, they have disappointed society and damaged the reputation of not only themselves but of the people who are associated with them. I suppose that was the inspiration for this column, either that, or I just really wanted to remember how much I loved the movie ‘Stand by Me.’

I guess my point is that no matter how big a mistake a person makes, lying is always a bigger mistake, its really that simple. I know I am not saying anything that hasn’t been said a million times but I figured It can’t hurt to remind people of some simplicities between right and wrong. And although I would love to say that I have never told a lie since the day I watched my first rated ‘R’ movie, the truth is, in the last 20 years I have told my fair share fibs, speaking of which I wasn’t really 9 when I saw that movie, to be honest I was 11.