Why Doesn’t God Think Lying is Harmless?
The ninth commandment
Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Ephesians 4:24-25 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” If God puts the word “true” in front of another word, He is making a contrast. When God speaks of “true worshippers” He is making a distinction between them and false worshippers. So, “true holiness” is in contrast to “false holiness.” And as there is no true holiness without truth, there can be no true holiness if we lie. To come to true holiness you must put away lying.
In Dec 2001 George O’Leary had just been appointed head coach for the University of Notre Dame and he was on top of the world. To him I’m sure that coaching the Fighting Irish was the greatest thing in the world, especially when your name is O’Leary. But within two days of that announcement O’Leary’s dream turned into a nightmare. Why? Because a reporter had discovered that he had lied on his resume. Among other things, his resume said that he had played for New Hampshire, but he didn’t. But he fudged that to get that job. It was written in his resume 21 years earlier when he applied for a job in Syracuse. For 21 years this lie went undiscovered and accepted for the truth. For 21 years a small lie was unnoticed and many said, so what. It has nothing to do with his ability. It’s only an exaggeration. Put more tragic than the lie is what the coaches brother said when he was asked about his brother. “In the America we live in, the willingness to lie on a resume is an indication of how much you want the job.”
Statistics say that 50% of all resumes today have at least one falsehood according to the researchers who wrote a book about it. This was their conclusion. They said that 91% of people regularly lie. They said one out of five cannot go through a single day without telling a lie. This is some of their finding. They found out that (1) men lie more than women, (2) Young men lie more than old men and (3) liberals lie more than conservatives.
The saddest part of their conclusions, remembering that our society used to regard true as important until we had a president who lied under oath and flaunted it as nothing, was that lying has become a cultural trait in America and has become imbedded into our national character.
This is more than sad. So without the truth, our family relationships will crumble, our judicial system will crumble and ultimately our nation will suffer greatly. Listen, most Christians need to deal with this because if Christians are honest they have to confess that they too lie on occasions. Let me tell you something that I know for a fact, preachers lie! Did you know that? Did you hear that? Put we don’t call it a lie. We call it exaggeration or something else, but in reality lying is lying. Every prosperity preacher is a liar because he is deceiving those who listen into believing something as truth and true Biblical doctrine that is not. Many preachers on TV in the name of raising funds, either intentionally lie or just misuse scripture to get people to believe what they are saying, that they want people to believe, so they will give more money. 1 Timothy 1:2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron…” All men who regularly lie and deceive or have no problem doing it have a dead conscience, one that is seared with a hot iron, spiritually, and so they have no sense of right and wrong, at least not in this area.
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, healing can come when we confess our propensity to lie and admit that without the grace and help of God, it is easily possible for us all to lie. People lie because of many reasons. Some lie because of fear. In the old days, when parents actually punished by whipping, some lied to try and avoid the punishment for something we did. Some lied about their age to try to appear older and be more accepted. Though I have also been there and lied in my younger days, today I know better and I know that it is a terrible sin against God.
Preachers exaggerate about their ministry, the size of their church and many things to impress people. Kids lie out of fear and adults lie to impress people. The reason 50% of resumes are not true is because they want to impress people and convince others that we have more experience, more ability, or accomplished more than we have in order to get a job. They say you have to promote yourself and if you don’t, who will. Others lie to save money or to get more money.
From the politicians, who are know liars for the most part, to preachers; all need to hear and take how serious this issue of lying, exaggerating, embellishing the truth is. Many times believer’s gossip and tear down another’s name under the guise of sharing prayer needs. I have learned through the years that most gossip contaisn a fair amount of half truths and misinformation but they present the story as facts and the next person believes it and passes it on and people think it is reality when it is at best a half-truth.
We have to understand that there is a reason why we are called the people of the truth. Imagine, if I habitually lie to my neighbor to whom I have tried to witness to for years, when I share the gospel with him, is he going to believe me? When I tell him that when he comes to Jesus Christ and how he can be forgiven and receive eternal life and be changed by the power and word of God, will he believe me? No! Because he will see that it has not changed my life because I lie and so what good has it done me? How has it made me a better person? Why should he accept that which did me no good? I will have destroyed and damaged the trust that could be used to lead him to Christ.
Our lives are to be a living epistle, read by all men (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). If our lives do not match our words, then our words are dismissed as religious hypocrisy and our lives become a reproach and a testimony against the Lord, rather than for the Lord.
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Christ was truth. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So, if God is true to us then we must not only be true to Him, but be true to one another.
Some ask if there is a time when lying is okay. If you are just trying to have a comical affect or to pull someone’s leg. Well, if it stops there and you immediately then tell the truth and make it known that you were just joking, then I don’t think you have violated the 9th commandment of Exodus 20:16. There is intent to bring falsehood in lying and it is to deceive. Bearing false witness goes to the motive and intent of the heart. It is to intentionally damage another person or hurt them or cause others to believe something false about them. The very core and heart of the 9th commandment is the intent to deceive. That is what it means. That is what lying does, it deceives and misleads and creates an environment of distrust. That is the core of this commandment. I am not here talking about false situational ethics. All this, “as long as no one is hurt and as long as no one knows” or any other such nonsense is not Biblical. The very core of the 9th commandment is; am I intentionally deceiving another, whether anyone is hurt or not or anyone knows or not, it doesn’t matter. Am I intentionally deceiving?
Many ask, “What about all those people in the Bible who lied?” What about Abraham lying about his wife to the king, or Isaac lying to his father to steal the blessing? And we could give a long list of lies told in the Bible. Just because God did not immediately condemn these people or their actions, because He was patient with them as He is with us when we sin, the 9th commandment is very clear. It is God’s opinion on the issue. It is very clear and it condemns lying and calls it an abomination to Him.
Some would say; well what about the midwives in who lied to Pharaoh to save the Jewish babies? What about Rahab who lied to save the Israeli spies? Where these two particular situations are different that any other lie told in the Bible, they were to say another’s life from death. But is Jesus not our perfect example of holiness and righteousness before God. Is He not the one we are to immolate and become like? Yet, we see when Jesus faced death, what did He do? When asked the question by the high priest that would make the difference of life or death, Jesus if anything over answered to make sure there was absolutely no doubt of the truth of who He was, sealing His condemnation. Matthew 26:63-64: “And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Simply, Jesus said, it is as you say, I am the Christ, the Son of God and then He added to that admission and just got in the face of the high priest. Some say, well, Jesus could have just remained silent, as at other time. No he could not. He had to testify to the Truth because He was truth and because of the high priests words, “I adjure by the living God” which demanded a reply.
Also we see many martyrs through history could have saved their own skin by a simple denial at the moment, a the time when it meant life and death to save their skin and then gone on and some would say, they could have kept serving God and done more for His kingdom. So, just that one little lie would have been justified. Really? No, even here the end doesn’t justify the means before God. God is more concerned with truth and faithfulness than with what you could do for Him by lying. God doesn’t work that way and doesn’t excuse lying. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). If Jesus had kept his mouth shut before the high priest, He would have been denying the Father. In Matthew 16:25 Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” So, God doesn’t want you to lie even to save your own life.
1 John 2:21 “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” If Jesus is truth then no lie is of God or acceptable to God. There are no exceptions or justifications for lying. James 3:14 “…lie not against the truth.” Proverbs 14:5 “A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.” Then to drive this home, Proverbs 13:5 says, “A righteous man hateth lying:” So, the moment you lie, you are confessing to those who hear you and to the Lord, I am not righteous!
The problem is some people use these situations in the Bible to justify lying to save their own hide. However, that will not wash with God because He doesn’t accept lying. In fact, the Bible, being an honest and truthful book tells us about those who lied and all their other faults, not to justify or tell us they are acceptable, but to show us the mercy and grace of God, to forgive, even what some would consider the greater sins, as David’s adultery and murder. His sin doesn’t justify his actions. He paid dearly for that sin as did others. You don’t get by with sin. God will forgive you if you repent and you still may suffer for that sin, but at least it is forgiven and better than to enter eternity without forgiveness.
The Bible tells us that the very first lie ever uttered on the face of the earth was in the Garden of Eden when the serpent lied to Eve and from that time on, those who are on the side of the devil; lie because he is called the father of lies. John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” And anyone who habitually lies surely identifies themselves with Satan. This is a fact that would help anyone to overcome this insidious sin. It will help you to overcome the propensity to embellish the truth, to exaggerate or to tell half-truths. The Bible said that Satan is the father of lies and the Jesus is very truth. Ask yourself this question. Am I identifying myself with Jesus who is the source of truth and very truth or am I identifying with the enemy of my soul who is the father of lies. Ask yourself that question. Am I more concerned about pleasing the lord of life or am I willing to lie to please people and gain their approval? Ask yourself, am I more anxious for the Lord to get the glory, or am I wiling to let Satan have the upper hand in my life, to come into my life and set up a stronghold. Ask yourself the question, “Do I care about grieving the Holy Spirit in my life or am I more committed to making a good impression before other people?” Ask yourself the question, “Am I more concerned with my reputation with the one who died for me on Calvary, or am I more concerned about my own reputation?” That will help you have the strength to overcome and to tell the truth.
Consider this statement, “Hymns and Christian songs have made many liars.” Think about it. This is blunt but reality. You should not sing a song or hymn without thinking about what you are singing and if you really mean it. There have been times in my own life when I stopped singing something because I could not do it without thinking I was singing a lie. There have been times when as I was singing the song, I would be thinking and praying, Lord I want this to be true in my life, and Lord I want this to be real in me. Lord, make me this way.” Have you considered singing, “Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way.” Do you really want God to have His way in your life or just singing the words without meaning it, in reality singing a lie and being a hypocrite about it? Do I really want God to take control? We sing, “I surrender all, I surrender all.” Do we? Are we willing? Do we mean it as the writers of these old hymns did when they wrote them? Or is it just empty rote? I have had to in the middle of a song, stop and do business with God. If they don’t make you think, they you are just a magpie singer.
Honesty and truthfulness needs to start in our relationship with the Lord. Honestly in a relationship is like sunshine to a plant. Relationships strive in and with honesty but they wither when there is no sunshine of honesty. So, what is your choice? I am not unaware of the fact that unadulterated truth is often hard to swallow. I am not ignorant of the fact that hearing the truth can hurt. I am not ignorant of that fact, especially when it is spoken in an unloving way. Yet it can also hurt when spoken in love because it is like a surgeon with a knife cutting into you. But then when the body is cured of what the body needed to be confronted, when the body is cured and healed of what needed to be healed, to be cut and thrown away makes it all worthwhile. When the cancer is cut out and removed, then we are free from its power. Its power over us is then broken. Why is it so important that we suffer spiritual surgery to have spiritual cancers removed?
Proverbs 6:16-17 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue… A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” The difference between the six things and seven abomination is because He mentions lying twice, in two ways, “a lying tongue” and “a false witness that speaketh lies.” Nothing else is mentioned twice. God is establishing this issue. In fact, a false witness is sowing discord, so in one false word that is committing two abominations before the Lord. Then God repeats that lying is an abomination, a third time. Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.” It means that the one who lies is detestable, disgusting and something to be abhorred by the Lord. Have you asked yourself, do I really want the Lord to detest and abhor me? I don’t think so, but that is truth.
I don’t think anybody has been the recipients of people lying about your reputation and character and untrue things being said about you much more than I have experienced. No one can be in such a position without knowing the pain, frustration and grief that comes from it. But there is something positive even in that happening to you, a positive side of people lying about you. It can give you a greater commitment to speak the truth in love. That is simply impossible for anyone without Jesus Christ and His grace. It is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit to speak the truth in love. You can’t do it on your own, as keeping the Ten Commandments are all impossible within yourself and your ability. But those of us who love one another must daily speak the truth in love. When we empty ourselves and are filled with the Holy Spirit, than and only then can we do what is humanly impossible, to speak the truth in love.
We lie because we are worried of what people think of us. But the more we surrender our lives to the Lord, the more we want to imitate Him and not the enemy of our souls, the more we can receive the strength to speak the truth and not lie for whatever reason The choice is, who am I going to please and imitate, even if people are not happy about it. The question is, do you and I want to hear the Lord in that day say, “well done thou good and faithful servant”? Liars won’t hear that said of them.
Colossians 3:8-10 “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Lying is not from God, but Satan. It is from one who has not been renewed in the Spirit of their mind.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” Lying comes from having a conscience that is seared and insensitive to the Spirit of God and not subject to the Word of God, no matter who is lying or what they are lying about.
Revelation 21:7-8 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Now that is clear and blunt, those most don’t want to hear or believe it. God puts the liar with the murder, whoremonger, sorcerer and idolater. We have to have our minds renewed to see things as God sees them in the spirit. Only then can we see how horrible this sin is that so many think nothing of and take so lightly in our society today.
Revelation 21:2, 27 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband….And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Notice again, it says that those who lie a lie do not have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life, which means they do not have eternal life and they don’t enter into the holy city. Those whose names are written in the book of life are in contrast to those who work abomination and lie. In this verse God doesn’t even mention directly the murderer and idolater. When you think about this in context of the scriptures we can better see how horrible lying is to God. We have taken it too lightly because our society treats it as a nothing important anymore. But God’s word makes it clear to those who think well, it’s a little sin, versus what they would consider a big sin, as murder, God’s Word makes it clear that he doesn’t make that distinction or difference and lying is a bad and wicked to God as murder.
Revelation 22:14-15 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” God said it again and once again put the liar with these other most wicked of people.
Lastly, a verse that was a prayer of David. Psalm 120:2 “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” I think that is where we must begin. Lord, deliver me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue, because it is an abomination to you and something you hate and detest. Why? Because God is truth and in Him there is no untruth. That is why God hates a lie. There is no lie in God and all this is a lie is of the Devil, who is the father of lies.
So we have to decide who and what do we want to be identified with, truth and Christ, or a lie and Satan? It really is that simple before God.
We will never be honest with men until we get honest with God. It must begin here. David said, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (Psalm 19:13). Presumption will destroy us. To presume upon God, as in “God doesn’t see my sin, He just see the blood” is a lie against the Truth of God’s Word and will lead to destruction. Romans 1:25, speaks of those who “Who changed the truth of God into a lie…” When we say something is not sin, that God calls sin, we change the truth in to a lie and call God a liar. Then the result is, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. To walk in presumption that you an get by with sin, is to be overtaken by that sin and it will destroy you. It is only the sin that is repented of, confessed and forsaken that is forgiven.
1 John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” The first thing is that we must confess, repent of our sin and be willing to turn from it. That is repentance, to see our sin as God see it and tell Him that we will turn from our sin. Then, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. We must see and interpret all scripture in the light of all other scripture as a whole.
Jesus said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” Luke 13:3. We don’t hear much preaching about repentance today, but it is what Jesus and the disciples preached. Mark 6:12 “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”
To those who have fallen the message from Christ is: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). If you are guilty of lying, you have fallen from the truth, you are not walking in truth. Revelation 3:3 “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” V.19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Repent of lying and be healed, for your own sake, in Jesus name.
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