Captivated by Truth


By Christopher Raley


When I was 19, I quit college, moved to Salem, Oregon, and took a full-time job cleaning carpets for a disaster restoration company. I worked with a 50-year-old technician named Dave.

Dave was very particular about who drove the van. But one day, after a full day of carpet cleaning, he relented and let me drive it back through the industrial part of town to the shop. As I was driving on a particularly narrow road, a car came racing toward us from a driveway on the right. As he approached, I realized he wasn’t going to stop in time.

After the impact, I pulled over. Dave and I got out only to see the car racing away, swerving through traffic. Dave turned to me and said, “Throw me the keys. I’ll take the heat for this.”

Still somewhat shocked, I tossed him the keys and remained silent while Dave told our boss, the police, and the insurance company that he had been the driver. I ought to have been relieved, but I wasn’t. When I got back to my apartment I felt nothing but misery. I had lied, and I couldn’t make myself believe that it was ok. Worse than that, the only way to remedy what I had done seemed to be a direct course to unemployment.

But as the minutes ticked by, I knew I would rather have a clear conscience and not have a job than have a job without a clear conscience. Realizing that doing right is what matters most, I placed my trust in God for the outcome, picked up the phone, called my boss, and told him that I had been the one driving his van earlier that day. I experienced an immediate sense of relief. The truth was out. I had placed my trust in the God who loves truth. So whatever happened, I knew I could deal with it because my conscience was clear before God.

What did happen is that my boss praised my honesty. He said that he wished everyone on his crew were as honest as I was. I was baffled. I had just lied to him and confessed it. And he praised my honesty? But there was still Dave to worry about. I had just ratted him out.

Dave was less enthusiastic about my decision, but he let it ride with a “to each his own” kind of philosophy, and we went on working together as happily as we had done before. Except, of course, Dave never let me drive the van again.