I’m sure you’ve heard the delightful little tale called “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.” This story perfectly illustrates the concept of credibility, and expands on the importance of always speaking truthfully, which was covered in the last chapter.
Once upon a time, way back in 2009, there was a little shepherd boy who was extremely bored while watching his flock of sheep. So he devised a plan to have a little fun. He rushed down to the village crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!”
His neighbors stopped what they were doing to come and help.
Of course, there was no wolf; the boy was just playing a trick on them. He laughed in amusement, having made them look foolish.
The next day, the sneaky little boy pulled the same stunt, crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!”
Again, his neighbors came rushing to help. Again, they were left looking foolish, as the little boy laughed, having successfully tricked them for the second time.
The following day, however, a wolf really did appear, threatening to eat the boy’s flock of sheep. The little boy cried out, “Wolf! Wolf!” but his neighbors didn’t believe there was a wolf, so they didn’t come to help. They assumed the little boy was trying to trick them again.
The wolf destroyed the little boy’s flock (and his livelihood).
Moral: There is no believing a liar, even when he (or she) speaks the truth.
The little boy who cried wolf created a credibility issue for himself. Dictionary.com defines credibility as: the quality of being believable or trustworthy.
Every time you make a decision to be deceptive, you’re decreasing your level of credibility. If you consistently “cry wolf,” you’ll end up like the little boy who lost everything.
Deception destroys credibility. You might think you’re slick (like the little boy) because you’re able to fool some of the people, some of the time. However, as covered in the last chapter, people who have been trained in the art of deception-detection will easily see through you. As you manipulate the “village people” with your sneaky tricks, they’ll patiently (and quietly) sit in the background until you expose your flock. Then, depending on the quality of their character, they’ll either make a move to destroy your livelihood (your flock), or they’ll alert the gullible village people of your trickery.
It pays to develop credibility.
In one of my favorite books, The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus, the Christ, Jesus finds himself tempted by some of his own men. The men are genuinely trying to help him. They admit to betraying some of Jesus’ enemies, thinking this will please him.
Jesus responds, “Then you are traitors. A traitor is a fiend; he who betrays another man is never a man to trust. If one has only reached the plane of treachery, he is a lover of deceit, and will betray a friend to serve his selfish self.”
In other words, in your deceptive act against my enemy, you have demonstrated that you’re willing to be deceptive in order to achieve your agenda for that moment. You now have a credibility issue.
Jesus must’ve been thinking, If these guys decide to get mad at me at some point in the future, they’ve already proven themselves to be deceptive betrayers, and they’ll treat me no differently.