“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” – Ephesians 4:25
“He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me.” – Psalm 101:7
Because my life has involved the court system over the past year, I have found myself researching and trying to understand more about how our system works. One of the things I have found interesting in the process is perjury. In a court of law, those who lie under oath are committing a crime and can charged a fine or put into prison. Judges do not look favorably upon those who lie in court and can even throw out their testimony.
Lying is a sin. Many verses address God’s feeling toward those who lie and lying itself. Proverbs (6:16-17) says that God HATES a lying tongue and He hates those who tell lies (Prov 12:22) as well as destroys those who lie (Psalms 5:6). Those are harsh statements but true. True because God cannot lie and cannot be in the presence of those who choose to lie.
So why is God so tough on those who lie? Why such harsh statements? Because lying is contrary to God’s character. It is not that God chooses not to lie or that He will not lie but instead that He CANNOT lie. God IS TRUTH. Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” God always speaks truth! When He makes a promise to us, we can be assured that He will follow through with His promises to us. Even when we fall short and fail Him, God is still there. He is faithful to His promises and will not forsake us.
“if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”
2 Timothy 2:13
When we lie, it is never “of God” but instead comes from the “father of lies,” Satan. His mission is to steal, kill, and destroy and that is exactly what he accomplishes when we fall into the sin of lying. We lie for various reasons. We tell little white lies because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We lie to keep ourselves out of trouble. We lie to make ourselves appear better to others. No matter what the reason or the kind of lie, God considers it all a sin.
When we don’t tell the truth, there are consequences to face. In the story of Ananias and Sapphira, they sold a piece of property and only gave half of their money to the church. They lied to the Apostles saying that they only sold the land for the amount that they gave. God struck them down dead. Their sin was not that they kept the money but instead that they did not tell the truth.
Proverbs tells us that God destroys those who lie. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira that meant literal death. For us I think it may mean other things. I was reading a book today that suggested some things we might lose to death because of our lying. Things such as our marriages (“falsehoods are termites in the trunk of the family tree”), our conscience (the tragedy of the second lie is that it is always easier to tell than the first), a career, faith (those who are fluent in the language of falsehood find terms like confession and repentance hard to pronounce). We could also lose things like intimacy, trust, and peace.
When we lie, we lose the most important thing of all: our witness. Just as the court will not hear the testimony of a perjured witness, the world will not listen to the testimony of a lying proclaimed Christ-follower.
One of my favorite verses is found in Matthew. It says, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”(25:21) I have seen this verse lived out so much over the past year. I have experienced God’s faithfulness. He gives us so much more when we choose to follow Him and live according to His ways and not our own.
So many are bound and buried by their lies. When we are facing a problem, we are left at a fork in the road wondering which path to take. Should we tell the truth and face the music or continue down the path of lies? The question to ask in those moments is whether or not God will bless your deceit. Would God, One who hates lies, bless a strategy that has been built on lies? Will God honor the manipulator? Will God rescue the cheater? Will God bless our dishonesty?
We must choose to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth or we will be bound by chains and buried forever. Once we make the choice and examine our hearts, the truth will set us free.