“I am stuck in a generation where loyalty is just a tattoo, love is just a quote, and lying is the new truth.” ~unknown
As a child, I was told the importance of telling the truth. I learned that lesson well and still remember a time when I refused to listen to my mother about not playing with the Christmas manger scene and broke the head off the Joseph figurine. I tried to fix it, I tried to hide it – but the next time my mother dusted – the gig was up. She didn’t lose her temper, but asked me directly – and warned me that if I told the truth, we would address it – if I told a lie, there would be severe consequences. I told the truth. The consequence was that I had to clean the house for disobeying, not lying – but had I lied – no amount of house cleaning would have assuaged my dishonest conscience.
The childhood lesson about lying never left me, but it is ironic, because to be honest, I grew up in a household full of liars. It is the number one characteristic of the human being that I detest the most and one that makes me not a very good liar. I break out in hives, I sweat, my eyes change color and my mouth goes dry. If you know me, and I lie to you – I will be caught and if lie, I loathe myself, to the point it will haunt me for years.
Here is the thing though – liars are everywhere. Life is full of FAKE NEWS – in the media, in our social interactions, at our workplace, our churches, even in our own families. I still have family members who have very fast and loose relationships with truth – who lie so much that they believe their own lies and they think that the rest of us actually believe them! (No, none of my family members are actual politicians…they likely could be….;)
I would rather be hurt by the truth, than crushed by a lie. Lying hurts the liar and all the people in the liars’ life. And lest we forget how tragic lying is…..God has a lot to say to us about liars – He detests them.
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. Proverbs 12:22
So why do people lie? Well, if you ask yourself this, as I do, I know why I lie. I do this if I have done something wrong and want to hide it, if I am feeling insecure, if I am trying to protect myself, if I don’t want to be pushed into revealing something private or if it is just easier to lie rather than explain my bad choice over something. Sometimes people lie because they are narcissists. They think so highly of themselves, that they believe that truth is for other people (as are rules) and they are not to be lumped in with “others.” Sometimes they lie because they think they are protecting you.
But bloviators are quite common….because we are all liars. Sure, we try to justify our lying, you know “it was just a white lie” or a “lie of omission” or I did not mean to lie…. It may be cheating on taxes, calling in sick to work or…whatever, a lie is a lie. In the 10 Commandants, God said “Thou shalt not lie” (bear false witness) as number 9 with number 10 being “thou shall not covet.” I see #9 being lying about others and #10 as lying to ourselves about the intention of our own hearts. I do not think these came last in order, but because God knows the heart of man (and woman) is bent toward lying, He listed them among last of His commandmants so as to be fresh in our minds.
And God. He is quite serious about the consequences of lies. In several places in the book of Revelation alone, He tells us that liars will not only NOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they will spend their eternity in the lake of fire….
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, (emphasis mine) their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
To be a liar is to align ourselves with the father of lies – Satan…and as he is about the business of destroying God’s creation, us included, we who lie are being used as blunt objects to assist in that destruction.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. 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
When we lie, we hurt our relationships. With God. With each other. When we lie we destroy our reputation. When we lie we destroy our witness to others and if we are parents who lie – we destroy our children. Yes, read it again – WE DESTROY OUR CHILDREN.
Why? Because there have been studies after study that have found that a lying parent teaches a child to lie, to not value truth, to never learn to rise to the occasion and challenges life throws their way (because they learn a lie is the expedient way to deal with those troubles).
More and more, child psychologists are finding lying effects a child’s self-esteem. If children grow up with a parent who lies to them – who makes promises and does not fulfill them, who uses lies for expedience, who lies to control behavior or someone elses – that same child will grow up insecure. My former pastor used to say about children, that they have an “automatic cheese meter” built into them. In other words, they KNOW when they are being lied to. In turn, they instinctively also know if the people they love most (e.g. their family) can lie to them, then there is no safety zone for them – and they grow up assuming everyone will lie to them. So, why not become liars themselves, since it seems to be the only way to navigate life?
But God. Though He does not parse His opinion about liars, He also calls us to a higher life – to repent and turn away from lying. God says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”
So act faithfully! Turn this behaviour around….OWN your stuff and just stop it!!! Confess and repent it to God, ask for His forgiveness, ask Him to help you stop it (and don’t miss this part), confess it to the person(s) you lied to. That may mean a tough day (or year for that matter) as you work through the damage you have caused, but know this truth – the pain you feel in the process will happily fade in the new free life you will have once you are cured of your lying ways. You, with God’s help – will need to break the hold of it in your life and prove to others you are a new person (in Christ).
We are made in God’s image. God is truth. God is love. He calls us to live life abundantly through HIM – and if He is not a liar, is it not the case that a life lived through His power and spirit is a life enabled to be truthful? We are called to put off the things of the past and to give our life (mind, body and soul) to Him to create a new heart in us. That is the answer to my own problem with lying. I already told you, I grew up in a house of lying. I am one of those children who had a fast and loose relationship with the truth….
But God. When I met him more than 20 years ago, He pressed upon me the importance of my own repentance in that area (among others) and began His work in me from the inside out. Thankfully, as I was a new mother at the time, I learned His lesson just in time to not pass the generational lying curse on. But don’t let me fool you – do I ever lie?
Well I would be lying if I said I don’t – but I can say that if I try to do it – I am back to the sweaty palms and the neck hives and God will make me so physically sick I have to submit immediately. I will quickly own MY stuff and bring it to God and the person I lied to. It has made for some uncomfortable conversations, let me tell you.
I have (finally) learned the hard truth – whether I am the liar or the one being lied to – Jesus had it right when He told his disciples, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Now THAT is the honest truth! Amen and amen.