The Truth About Lying

The Truth About Lying

How many times have you heard these statements or said them: - The check is in the mail. - I’ll start my diet tomorrow. - One size fits all. - This offer is limited to the first 100 people who call in. - This hurts me more than it hurts you. - I just need five minutes of your time?

Mark Twain said a lie can travel around the world while truth is still lacing up her boots.

Lying has become so prevalent, many Christians do not look on lying as the grievous sin that it is. We have come to the point where we don’t expect to hear the truth. Spouses lie to one another in the name of keeping the peace, parents lie to their own children and vice versa, employers and employees lie to each other. Politicians lie in order to spin things their way and gain votes. Advertisers lie to sell products. Misleading others is a common practice in the name of “good” business.

For instance, a store manager heard his clerk tell a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for a while, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.” Horrified, the manager came running over to the customer and said, “Of course we’ll have some soon. We placed an order last week.” Then the manager drew the clerk aside. “Never,” he snarled, “Never, never, never say we’re out of anything—say we’ve got it on order and it’s coming. Now, what was it she wanted anyway?” The clerk said, “Rain!”

The Lord included lying as one of the 10 commandments, Ex 20:16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; and according to other statements in His Word, He takes this sin very seriously.

Prov. 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (2 out of the 7 things God hates are about lying)

Ps 5:4-6 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.

Ps 101:6-7 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.

Prov. 12:22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

1 Pet. 3:10 For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.

Rev. 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Do you see how serious lying is? Breaking the 9th commandment has the consequence of eternal death! Although it is part of the old law, it still applies to our new life in Christ. Honesty and truthfulness are crucial to the Christian’s life. It’s natural to lie, and lying is easy. That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit to tell the truth.

Are you a truly honest person, or do people have to question you and wonder about your genuineness? Is your word as good as your signature? Do you do what you say you will do? Do you tell the truth even when it will cost you something? We can fool the public, we can fool each other, but we can’t fool God!

When we lie, we are allowing Satan to use us and we are acting like him instead of Jesus Christ. Almost every time we see the devil in Scripture he’s lying. The first time we see Satan in the Bible he lies about God to man. The purpose of his lies are to deceive, and that is also the purpose of our lies.

Gen. 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (not what He said)

Questioning God’s Word is dangerous. Yet many question God’s Word all the time. They have decided it is not authentic, it is out-of date, or it is mythical. We are not to judge whether God’s Word fits our culture or is politically correct. The Word is to stand in judgment of us, not the other way around.

Gen. 3:4-5 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.  "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Satan is saying, “God won’t judge you if you sin. He is trying to keep good things from you.” Satan is a liar! And we believe this lie every time we decide to disobey what God says!

And when we lie, we align ourselves with everything that brings death, destruction, doom, and damnation to this world. Sin is what leads to death, but that sin was brought about by a lie! Therefore, don’t take lying lightly. There’s no such thing as a little white lie. God is truth, and anything less than truth is wrong, it is a lie, and it is sin!

Here are 7 ways people often lie without even thinking about it:
1. Slander: This is lying with the intention of doing harm to another’s reputation.

Psalms 101:5 Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.

Leviticus 19:16 Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.

Some sins are worse than others in terms of the damage done. If I steal from you, I can return the item. But if I spread lies about you, I may not be able to ever undo the far reaching effects.

I once heard an illustration that compared our words to a tube of toothpaste. It is easy to get the toothpaste out of the tube, but impossible to get it back in. Once we say destructive words, the damage is done. Even if we apologize, trust is very difficult to regain. We can do many things to people that can be rectified, but slander creates wounds that can last a lifetime. When we slander someone’s reputation we do irreparable damage. And we’ll answer to God for it!

2. Tale-bearing: This is gossip. The vast majority of the time gossip is based on false words, either by being an outright lie or an embellishment of the truth – which is still a lie. This is how tale-bearing works. Each person who repeats the tale adds a little or deletes a little of the story to make it more interesting. By the time it gets back to the one they are talking about, it has little basis for truth whatsoever.

1 Timothy 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 

Next time you’re enjoying listening to someone gossip, remember this fact: Anyone who will gossip TO you, will gossip ABOUT you!

Proverbs 10:18-19 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool. In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.

Why does the Bible call the slanderer a fool? Because God command is, “You shall not bear false witness”. The gossip, slanderer, and tale-bearer will be judged for their words. In fact, Jesus warned us that we will give an account for every word spoken.

Don’t allow your ears to become someone’s personal trash cans. If they come to you and say, “People are saying...” stop and ask, who are ‘people’... don’t accept anonymous criticism. Often it’s just a cowardly way of saying what that person wants to say, putting it off on someone else. Don’t give them a signal that says, “I’m willing to listen to any garbage you want to drop off.”
Instead, remind them: if they have a problem with someone, they should first go to them, and only to them.

Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Eph 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

3. Insinuation: you don’t actually say it, you just suggest it indirectly. For example, if I told you, “Today was a good Sunday...Bro. Al was sober today!” Is it true? Yes! But I’ve insinuated something else.

4. Flattery: that is insincere praise...saying something to someone’s face that you would never say behind their back. You compliment them because you want something from them.

Psalms 55:21 His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.

When someone starts buttering you up, remember that they are probably planning to have you for lunch!

5. Half-truths: not telling the whole story. You break the spirit of the law when you do this. Half of the truth equals a whole lie.

6. Exaggeration: embellishing the truth. One church member was brought before the elders for exaggerating too much. When they confronted him, he said they were right. “I’ve cried a barrel of tears over it. And I promise, I’ve tried to quit a million times!” There is no trustworthiness in exaggerations. It usually indicates we are lying.

7. Excuses: they are just dressed up lies to disguise our guilt. If a church is to live the way God designed, we must have truthfulness in all things. Truthfulness builds confidence, trust, respect, and honor. We must be truthful about our failings and deal with the consequences. We must not blame others for our sins and shortcomings. Taking personal responsibility for what we have done eliminates much lying.

Therefore, there is only one cure if we have lied or borne false witness against someone. That is: go back and confess the lie and tell the truth. Yes, we will suffer the consequences for what we have done, but the truth will set us free and God will bless us.

How to overcome lying:
• Love the truth. When Jesus stood before Pilot, Pilot asked, “What is truth?” Truth was standing in front of Him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We need to love Truth and Jesus more than ourselves. The truth needs to be more important than our own life.

• Learn the truth and focus on it. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Saturate your mind with good things, like the Word of God. The truth sets you free. It’s how Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness, with the truth of Scripture!

• Live the truth. Be accountable to others. Be open to others stopping you when you gossip or slander. Immediate confess, immediately correct, and immediately commit yourself again to the truth. Spend time with truthful people. Remove yourself from the place of gossip. You become who you hang out with.

Ps 26:4-5 I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites; I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.

1 Cor. 15:33 Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

People will ask, “Did you hear about…?” When that happens, ask them if this is something they would tell in that person’s presence. If not, then you do not want to hear it.

• Think before you speak. Is it the truth? Do I need to say it? James 1:19-20 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

• Remember what God thinks about lying and what He will do with all liars. And repent.

Zech 8:16-17 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

I served on a jury this week. It is difficult to determine the truth and render sound judgment when you don’t have all the facts. The defendant presented no witnesses nor testimony. After we found the defendant guilty, she presented several excuses for her behavior during the sentencing phase of the trial, pleading for mercy in the sentence. It was an emotional plea and some of the jurors were weeping. She may have received a light sentence until the prosecutor caught her swearing falsely by speaking half-truths, exaggerations, and outright lies right there on the witness stand. When given another chance to come clean, she refused to tell the truth. At that point, I understood how God looks at lying. He hates it. When we refuse to repent, He is justified in sentencing us to Hell. After a short deliberation, we gave her the maximum sentence allowed by law. God will do the same if we don’t repent and tell the truth.

The world is a cruel place and full of lies. Let us not be a part of the problem. Do not be one who tears apart another person with your speech. It is the most cowardly form of destruction because the person who is being attacked has no means of defense.

Make sure your speech is pure and that it builds up people. Become known as a person of integrity, a person who can be trusted. Our God is a God who can be trusted at His word. If God is in us, our words should be trustworthy and true.

In a moment, we are going to sing a hymn of invitation. If you are guilty of lying, the Holy Spirit is lovingly urging you to come clean, confess your sin, and repent by telling the truth, so God can forgive your sin and purify your heart. Do whatever the Spirit is telling you to do.

If you have never given your life to Jesus by confessing Him as Lord and Savior and dying to self through baptism, you are invited to come now so that you can receive a new life born of the Holy Spirit. Then you will know the Truth and you will have power to tell It.