Lying is rapidly becoming more common that truth telling. And people seem to be able to lie easily and without hesitation. It is becoming more and more their automatic response. Candidates for public office lie to us to enhance their image and make themselves more electable. People lie on dating sites about who they are, what they’ve accomplished, and even if they’re married. Husbands lie to their wives about their internet pornography usage. Wives lie about how much money they have spent and what they spend money on. Businessmen lie to their customers about their products, pricing, and delivery times. Are we a nation of liars? Does anybody tell the truth anymore? I think there are still truth tellers among us, but not nearly enough.
You might think that this is a straight forward, black and white issue. Something is either truth or a lie, right? Not so fast. Some people are skilled at cryptic communication to the degree that they say things in such a way that you don’t really know what to believe; and even after they gave you an answer, you still don’t know what the truth is. Sometimes it is even a matter of what is not said. Certain details have been deliberately omitted so that you come to the wrong conclusion. Sometimes it is a matter of being told something that is true at the time; but when there is a change, the updated information is intentionally withheld. I recently heard someone who was caught in a lie say, “Well, it could have happened that way.” What!! Who cares about what could have happened. What we need to know is what DID happen. When we stand before Jesus someday, He will not ask us what we might have done in our time here on earth. He will ask us what we did. Jesus already knows everything about everybody so there is no way anyone will be able to lie to Him.
The bottom line is that something is either true or it is not. Actually it really is simple. It really is black or white. But we must to be aware that there are deceptive people among us who don’t see it that way.
Telling the truth or telling a lie ultimately comes down to being an issue of the heart. Plain and simple: Lying is the intention to deceive. Whatever words are spoken or omitted, if we are failing to convey truth, we are lying. There is a reason that witnesses in a court of law are sworn in before they testify about something that happened with this question and oath: “Do you solemnly swear/affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God . . . .” If anything is added or omitted from the truth, it is not truth. It is deception.
Deception kills relationships. To deceive is to betray and eliminate trust. Think about it. You can never have a close relationship with someone you don’t trust or who doesn’t trust you. Deception makes forgiveness and reconciliation impossible. You cannot forgive a deceiver because you don’t even know there is something to forgive. Without transparent confession and repentance, forgiveness is not available and a relationship cannot exist. Often people lie to protect an important relationship. The opposite happens. Lying actually ensures the prevention or destruction of a healthy relationship.
Lying comes from our sin nature and is the default in children. They do it to avoid unpleasant consequences. It is important to note that a child’s lie is very different from that of an adult. Children naively lie to get out of trouble. It is the responsibility of the parent to train their children to be truth tellers and teach them that truth as right. Adults may lie for the same reason (to get out of trouble), but the lie of an adult is much more serious because it is a violation of a relationship and it stems from a severe character flaw. The lie of an adult actually does more damage than what is being lied about. If a person is still lying when they reach adulthood, the character flaw is ingrained and has significant negative impact on a person’s mental health. It negatively affects every relationship. The primary reason a person grows into adulthood still lying is that, for some reason, truth was not taught or modeled to them. Instead, they have learned that lying "works."
The source of lying is Satan. He is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). God is the source of truth. Truth is the essence of His character. It is impossible for God to lie. (Hebrews 6:18)
The solution to the sin of lying is simple: tell the truth no matter what! It does, however, require a 180 degree change of heart and intentional effort. Lying is a hard habit to break. It is a type of addiction. The good news is that the truth will set us free.
We will talk more about truth in next month’s newsletter.
“ So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” (John 8:31-32)