Kathy Bernard - Publisher

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“These then are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another; let there be honesty and peace in the judgments at your gates, and let none “of you plot evil against another in his heart, nor love a false oath. For all these things I hate, says the LORD” ( Zechariah 8:16,17)

A priest was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.  The group surrounded a dog.  Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked, "What are you boys doing with that dog?" One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray.  We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

OF course the priest was scandalized. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed.  He then launched into a ten-minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."  There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the priest began to think he'd really gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

FEW people realize the awesome, destructive power of the human tongue.  Out of all the talents God has given to us as ways of communication, the tongue is the most lethal and the spoken word can carry over for a lifetime and beyond.  For with the tongue we can destroy, with the tongue we can beguile, with the tongue we can paint pictures that can ruin reputations.  And with the tongue rumors can be spread to destroy individuals and sometimes even whole countries.

THE New World Dictionary defines lying as making a statement one knows is false with the intent to deceive or to give a false impression.  And some of the many ways we use this deception is by lying to the IRS,  lying about our salaries to others, lying about the cost of our houses, lying about our ages and even our backgrounds.  We resort to falsehoods in countless ways when truth would suffice,  the most lethal being the malicious destruction of others.

"SOMETIMES people seem to have it all together and yet underneath they really do suffer from self-esteem problems," says Charles Ford, a psychiatry professor at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and author of "Lies! Lies!! Lies!!!: The Psychology of Deceit."  So rather than tell the truth about ourselves we are inclined to embellish who and what we are and what we have in order to impress others.  Many times we do not want others to know the real "us" because others might feel we are unacceptable. We resort to a palatable myth because we want to be liked or loved.  We do not realize that we can be liked just as we are and that honesty has its own magnetic attractionBut we are afraid to take a chance on truth and we even use half-truths to avoid giving an forthright reply.  An old Hungarian proverb states “Man was given a tongue with which to speak and words to hide his thoughts.”  By our dishonesty we are gaining something to which we are not entitled, often dressing our lies up by calling them fibs; a new coat to cover an old sin.     

A common lie is the one we tell ourselves.  These are self-deceptive and differ from the outright lies we tell that are serious and could be dangerous to others. However, these fabrications steal truth from our conscience and make us vulnerable to future falsehoods.   They are the fradulent statements we use to hide behind in order to feel better about circumstances we cannot change.  They are the “feel good” lies we use to avoid truth.

ONE of God’s commandments is “Thou shall not bear false witness against our neighbors.”  We are exhorted to always be direct and absolutely straightforward when dealing with others.   Each time we speak ill or lie about or to our neighbors this is considered breaking one of God’s commandments.  Levitus 19:11 says "You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”  Proverbs 17:4 also gives us a word about lying:  “An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.”  The tongue, described as a little piece of muscle in our mouths, can bring peace to a troubled soul, wreck havoc on whole households, express love and compassion, or give compassionate healing.  It can be the most powerful weapon we own. 

IS there such a thing as a “white Lie?”  No, for a lie is a lie and the only difference is in the intensity in which it is told and the far reaching consequences.  God is a God of Truth and anything that is contrary to this teaching of truth is dishonest and therefore wrong.  And the same goes for a half-truth.  Anything less than truth is slanderous, deceitful, unjust and misleading.  A simple lie if it is told, accepted and believed gives us a sense of false power that can grow into alarming proportions and quickly get out of hand.    God did not intend for us to be liars and unless that tendency is realized and rectified we will learn to develop a habit of easy lying if we are not careful to halt that process. 

THEN why do we lie?  It is often because we are afraid of truth.  We lie for many reasons:  to escape censure or shame, for money, to keep our jobs, to stay out of trouble with the law, to look good to spouses or employers, to gain power, or as a defense.  Proverbs 30:8 sums it up by saying “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me.”

HOW does God look at us when we lie?  Colossians3: 9-10 tells us “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”  Exodus 20:16 further states "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”   Yet again in Ephesians 4:25 we are told  Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”  And finally Revelation tells us  “…all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."    If we have lied to someone, the bible tells us to confess that sin and make reparation to those we lied to, not only to make restitution but also to learn a hard, curing lesson.   Painful?  Sure it is but in the future we become stronger and able to avoid the detrimental pitfalls of lying.  With the armor of a Christian who leads a Christ-like life, we must not follow the deceptions of Satan, the father of all lies.   We must strive to be straightforward, honest and trustworthy for this truly serves us best in the end.  If what we speak is sincere and valid without guile or deceit, those we know or come in contact with will see Christ in us and we will become like beacons of God’s eternal truth.

 Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”

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