The importance of truth is recognized in court where witnesses are required to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Unfortunately many people are like the mother who was shocked to learn Junior had told a lie. She took him aside to explain the consequences of falsehood: “A tall black man with red fiery eyes and two sharp horns grabs little boys who tell lies and carries them off at night. He takes them to Mars where they have to work in a dark canyon for fifty years. Now,” she concluded, “you won’t tell a lie again, will you, dear?”
“No, Mom,” replied Junior gravely, “You tell better ones.”
Different Kinds of Lies:
- Twisting words—making person say something didn’t really say
- Twisting truth—clever wording to make a lie out of fact
- Shading the truth—perversion of the facts (preacher’s misstatement that God will supply our wants)
- Half-truths—courts want the “whole truth” (cf. Abraham’s half-truth—Gen. 12:13; 20:2)
- Misstatement of fact—Gen. 3:4 (back home, we call this a “bold-face lie”)
- Jumping to a conclusion—assuming you know when you don’t (“Bro. _____ believes ______”)
- Bodily movement—conveys deception (cf. Prov. 6:13; cf. shoulder shrug)
- Gossiping/Slandering—uttering false charges that damage reputation (cf. Lev. 19:16)
- Exaggerating—”fish stories”
- Insinuations—making statements that leave untrue impressions (“What do you think?”)
- Surmises—placing guilt when evidence is scant or slight (“I know why he did that”)
- Silence—withholding information
- Flattery—insincere, excessive praise from motives of self-interest
- Quotation—making another do your lying for you
- White lies—just black lies that have been whitewashed
To Whom Are Lies Told?
- Parents—Psa. 58:3
- Government—Rom. 13:6-7
- Insurance companies—cf. Eph. 4:28
- Personal relationships—Col. 3:9-10
- Ourselves—Jam. 1:22, 26; 1 Jn. 1:8
- Sports officials (Derek Jeter; Reuben Gonzolas illus.)
Why Do People Lie?
- Some lie out of habit
- Some lie to be polite—”good sermon”
- Some lie for convenience or out of laziness
- To make self look better (Ananias & Sapphira, Acts 5:1ff.)
- To protect self from embarrassment or disapproval
- To protect self from conflict or danger
- To protect someone else/spare feelings (Rahab, Jos. 2:4-5)
- To cover their shame (Potiphar’s wife, Gen. 39)
- To get money—“bluffing/artful negotiation” (Prov. 19:22)
- To get an advantage over another (Jacob, Gen. 27:18-25)
- To persuade another to do something (1 Kgs. 13:11-19)
What Happens to Liars?
- They will be caught/punished—Prov. 19:5
- They will be stopped—Psa. 63:11
- They will be silenced—Psa. 31:18
- Will be cut off from fellowship of righteous—Psa. 101:5
- They will perish—Prov. 12:19; 19:9
- They are an abomination to God—Prov. 12:22
- Are children of the devil/work vs. God—Jn.8:44; 1Jn. 3:8
- Disobey God—Lev. 19:11; Col. 3:9; Eph. 4:25; cf. Jn. 14:15
- They will reap—Gal. 6:7
- Ultimately, lost eternally—Rev. 21:8
Those who believe a lie will also perish—2 Ths. 2:12
Lying so important that it’s mentioned twice in the last 16 verses of the Bible & 3x in last 35 verses—Rev. 21:8, 27; 22:15
Pray the prayer of David (Psa. 120:2-3)!
Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.
As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, ‘You’d better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.’
Then he thought, ‘Oh, forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a ‘gift from God’ and keep quiet.’
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, ‘Here, you gave me too much change.’ The driver, with a smile, replied, ‘Aren’t you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I’ll see you at church on Sunday.’
When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, ‘Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.’
Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians and will put us to the test! Always be on guard—and remember—you carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself ‘Christian.’
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour“ (1 Peter 5:8).
[NOTE: Much of this material is taken from Allen Webster’s excellent book, 7 Things a Loving God Hates, available here.]