We see in the world today deception all around us. Nations deceive nations. The leaders of nations deceive their own citizens. Individuals deceive one another. Why all this deception? Where does this way of life originate? Who is the chief instigator of this insidious practice?
God, in His word, inspired the Apostle John to describe Satan as “the Devil…who deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). John also says that the whole world lies under the sway of Satan (I John 5:19). Christ described Satan this way: “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). What an indictment from Christ!
How does Satan deceive this world? What methods of deception does he use? As the father of lies, part of his method is that he uses mankind as instruments to deceive and spread deception to other human beings. The Apostle Paul tells us that in the last days “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).
Deception is the act of convincing another person to believe information that is not true. The most destructive and common kind of deception is lying—saying something that is known to be untrue in order to deceive someone else (“Lie.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 18 Feb. 2008). Sad to say, we live in a society that is filled with people to whom lying comes easy. They become habitual and chronic liars for whom lying is a way of life.
What are the methods people use to lie? The Wikipedia article cited above lists these, among others:
Some even display a condition, known as pathological lying or mythomania, in which they seem to be lose the ability to tell the difference between lies and truth, and will embellish and exaggerate even when there doesn’t seem to be anything to gain from it (“Mythomania.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 18 Feb. 2008). Hypocrisy is another facet of lying. A hypocrite says one thing and does another and pretends to be something he isn’t or do something he doesn’t. Christ condemned the scribes and Pharisees of His day for hypocrisy. Seven times in Matthew 23 Jesus tells them they are hypocrites, a word which comes from the Greek for “play–acting” or “acting out” (“Hypocrisy.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 18 Feb. 2008). The scribes and Pharisees saw themselves as righteous and holy, but the truth was their righteousness was only an outward show: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (v. 27).
What are the consequences of lying? Is there a penalty for telling lies? Can liars get away with it and negate the consequences? When lying is discovered, trust is destroyed and relationships break down. When a person resorts to lying there is erosion of their character sometimes slowly, but surely and inevitably. It brings great pain and suffering on those affected by the lie, and the one who is a liar also suffers pain and sorrow. They are breaking the Ten Commandments and consequently incur severe penalties. All are affected when lying takes place. God says plainly that liars cannot avoid the consequences of this sin. Proverbs 19:5 states that “a false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape.” Lying will be found out; it’s only a matter of time.
The ninth commandment covers all aspects of lying: false accusations, half–truths, “white” lies, hypocrisy, spreading false rumours and breaking promises. As true Christians, telling the truth should always be of paramount importance. It should be a way of life. God places great importance on our being people of truth—not only telling the truth, but also living by God’s Truth, His way of life.
Parents must teach their children never to lie, always to tell the truth. And the parents must set the right example with no hypocrisy. Instructing them that lying has no part whatsoever in your family and only telling the truth is acceptable will not be sufficient if you do not “practice what you preach.” It should be extremely important to all the members of the family that promises made are promises kept. In today’s society we see promises made and then broken with impunity. Those who lie are certainly not walking with God and living His way of life, but following the god of this world—Satan the Devil (II Cor. 4:4).
Are we always truthful in what we communicate to others? Do we strive to be accurate and avoid exaggerations? Do you believe that “honesty is the best policy”? That belief is fast disappearing. Is there any time when a “small” or “white” lie is acceptable or justified? Is there an occasion that a lie would be better than telling the truth? A true Christian must always know that the consequences of telling the truth are better than any apparent, temporary advantage gained by lying.
What does God say about lying? How serious a sin is it? God makes His position abundantly clear: “…all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). Liars will not be in the Kingdom of God. It can’t be more serious than that. God makes it very clear that He hates “a lying tongue” (Prov. 6:16–17). King Solomon, who had much to say about lying, was inspired to write, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Prov. 12:22). He also reminds us that “the truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Prov. 12:19). God delights in those who are truthful and honest in how they conduct their lives. The result for always telling the truth is great happiness and lasting reward.
As true Christians, our word needs to be our bond. The Apostle Paul tells us “putting away lying, ‘let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor’” (Eph. 4:25). When we make a promise we must stand by it. If we feel we are unable to keep our promise—then don’t make it. As the saying goes, “A person is only as good as their word.”
When we speak we must speak the truth, never shading the truth, breaking a promise, or putting a spin or gloss in our conversation with others. Not only should we believe the truth, we must always tell the truth.
Honesty is always the best policy because it is godly. Remember it is a delight to God when we are completely truthful and honest. As true Christians let us strive with God’s help to tell the truth every time, and in so doing please our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in all we say and do.
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