“The closer a lie is to the truth,
the more damning it is.”
That quote is from “Communication, Sex & Money” by Ed Cole (page 29). It caught my attention and has given me a great deal to think about.
First of all, we all lie. If that offends you, well, in a way you just lied to yourself. How many times have we told “little, white lies” so that we don’t hurt someone’s feelings? Or how many times have we just not told the complete truth? Isn’t that lying?
I look at “lying” like “juggling.” You tell one lie so you have one ball in the air. We can all pretty much handle one ball. Tell another lie and you just doubled your juggling to two. A little harder but still in control. Add a third and it starts to get tricky. Add another and another and eventually you are going to drop one if not all. It takes talent to juggle and I’ve seen some interesting things being juggled. Lying and getting away with it takes a form of talent as well.
I can’t juggle, never had the talent. But I can’t say the same about lying.
At this point we begin to rationalize. We tell ourselves that we don’t lie about important things, just about the little things that don’t really matter. But do they?
“Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.” Leviticus 19:11(NIV).
There are at least two cases in the Bible where lying proved to be beneficial. First, the Hebrew midwives lied to Pharaoh concerning the births of male children (Exodus 1:15-21). And then there is Rahab, who lied about hiding the Israelite spies (Joshua 2:5). In both cases, the midwives and Rahab made the decision to lie. And in both cases, benefited from doing so.
Another case of lying in the Bible didn’t turn out so well for Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5: 1-11). They dropped dead for their lie. The Word is clear about what God thinks about lying.
What about Corrie ten Boom? She hid Jews in her home and lied to the Nazis about knowing where any Jews were hiding. We must be careful. Being guilty of a lesser evil, i.e. lying, to prevent a greater evil, i.e. murder, is rare. When we begin to justify deceit for a greater good, we are literally on a slippery slope.
Hebrews 6:18 states that it is “impossible for God to lie.” Satan is the father of lies. Jesus tells us that in his own words:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 (NIV).
So we see a difference in lying about having an affair, or cheating on our taxes as compared to lying about how the casserole tasted. But does God? And if we are honest, as guys, we all pray for the Rapture when we are asked by our brides, “How does this dress make me look?” So why do we hate being lied to yet seem to justify “little, white lies” ourselves?
We live in a world surrounded by lies. “This product is the best ever!” “Vote for me and I’ll take care of you.” “Electricity. Always On.” “Buy this and it will make you thinner, smarter and better looking.” So on and so on.
I have told people that I would call them but ended up not doing so. Did I lie or simply forget? I have answered many a question incorrectly believing I knew the correct answer. Did I lie or was I just wrong? Intent becomes the issue. Life happens and we don’t follow through on what we said we would do. But that is different from telling someone something knowing full well we won’t follow through on it.
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” Proverbs 12:22(NIV).
Jesus is our example. Our word should be our bond. Our words should be true. Our words and actions should match. When we are less than honest, we lose credibility and trust and worst of all, we damage our witness. We are children of the Father of Truth!
Can we commit to be honest with each other? Can we commit to be honest, unashamed followers of Christ so that others see us as different?
Are you honestly running to the cross?