Lies come easier than the truth. We should admit it. But why is this? Why does man lie? Why is there something called a lie? In order to understand this, we must go back to the Book of Genesis. Note how ‘genes’ speaks about the original design. It is there that we find man in his innocent - never has sinned - stage and then in his fallen stage.
In man’s original sinless condition, he did not lie. He did not need to lie. God, Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony. There was no need to in anyway deflect one’s true self. They presented themselves as they were. This is easy when one is perfect.
Things changed, however, when man sinned. In this state, man is aware of his disharmony. There were things that Adam and Eve knew that reflected badly on their persons. Do you remember what they did when God confronted them?
The first thing they did was cover themselves because they lost the glory of God. The second, upon God’s coming, was to hide themselves. They were no longer playing an innocent game of hide and seek. Instead, it was like someone stole something and did not want the other to know. This was the guilt factor. Even before God came among them, the conscience witnessed their crime and made them conscious of their guilt. Guilt causes you to have another perspective of oneself. It speaks like, "Oh, oh, what if he or she finds out? Then I am in trouble!"
The conscience is a gift of God. If we did not have this conscience which is the consciousness of sin, then people would sin more and more. With the knowledge of our evil, then we see the shame and wrongness of it. Yes, it does cause odd behaviors among mankind. Guilt can get worse and worse until there is a divorce from it. The scriptures call it a ‘seared in their own conscience.’ "By means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron" (1 Timothy 4:2).
The Operation of Falsehood
Guilt spawns lies and deception. Let me explain how this happens. Along with the guilt comes an awareness that something is not right. If there is no guilt, then one would not hide anything. If something was wrong, he would just tell it. "Oh, did I do that. I am sorry. How can I fix it for you?" The guilt speaks of a moral trespass where one is or has done wrong for some purpose. If it is not right, then one fears getting caught, not getting what one wants, being shamed, fears of losing what one has. Fears of being seen for what you really are is avoided at all cost. And so man presents himself better than he is. Let me ask you again, "Have you lied?" Undoubtedly you say, "Yes," for all of us have sinned. We cannot be totally transparent.
Let me show you how this progresses. As it is repeated, it becomes more settled so that a person is not very aware of his guilt. It can even progress to the level where his conscience is not rightly working anymore - a seared conscience as mentioned above.
Cannot admit fault - Afraid
He firstly cannot admit to his fault. He is afraid of being caught. He would face a number of consequences if he admitted to what really happened.
"I am not that bad." - Deception
When he does not admit his fault, his guilt is activated. This guilt makes him feel sad and afraid, not only of far future judgment but being caught. So he deceives himself that he is not that bad.
Thinks he is right - Prideful
Pride is a fear response to guilt. It is a mechanism by which he thinks wrongly of himself. The guilty person then becomes quite prideful. One might think of it this way, the greater the guilt, the more the pride. The pride is the cover-up for the guilt. In this way, he can do many bad things and think quite well of himself.
Justifies his thinking - Blames others
He is right. Others are to blame. He actually starts to blame the other person. "I wouldn’t have stolen it if you were not so foolish to leave it hanging around." He, of course, does not say that aloud but he thinks these things to himself.
Petrifies his belief - Religion & false belief
After thinking of what he does over and over, he must find a way of thinking that conforms to what he does. As he is, so he believes. False teaching, philosophies and religions dulls a person’s guilt and makes a person smug in his wrongness (origin of religion). He might need sacrifices, but all religions except the following of Christ bolsters man’s deceptions that he is guilty and deserves judgment. The greater the sin, the more entrenched he is in his false thinking. These forms of thinking superficially protect him from his sin rather than roots it out.
Two Levels of Lies
There are two levels of lies.
(1) There is the lie against God. Man cannot admit his fault before God. He does not want to think of judgment. He must convince himself that his sin is not that bad. He, in fact, lies to himself and God, and presents himself as "not too bad." This is where he invents different theology where God is not the way He is and man is not that bad and through religions feels quite acceptable with himself.
(2) Man also lies against his fellow man. There are several reasons to do this, but let us think again what lying is. Lying is stating or presenting oneself or various circumstances different than they really are. Man, then, presents falsehood. Our passage says, "Lay aside falsehood." Notice that it affects not only our words but actions and gestures. We often use a lot of extra words and gestures to make it look like we really are telling the truth.
"You should have seen how they ran from there!" He was telling his Mom in a subtle way that he was not actually part of the kids that did anything wrong. He used the pronoun ‘they’ rather than ‘we.’ His statement was not false, but it led to false conclusions. In fact, the boy himself who said this was one of the boys! I remember one time having a fight after school. A boy picked a fight with me and I got a big black and blue eye. I didn’t want to go home but home I must go. Guess what I told my Mom? A ball came over from somewhere and hit my eye. I couldn’t even believe that preposterous lie. But I knew I shouldn’t fight and was embarrassed to tell my Mom what really happened. My Mom knew what happened. She also learned that her son didn’t fully respect her.
Falsehood actually can aggressively take a person down a worse road. It does not only pridefully protect one’s image, which we start believing after a while, but also can be used to gain an advantage over another. Sometimes the lies are between boy and girl to gain a better hold on the other. Sometimes it is to set someone up so one can steal. At other times, it is to get back at people or hurt those of whom one is jealous. Falsehood is behind the backbiting, lying and hurting of others. If you have been on the receiving end of someone like this, it is quite difficult to avoid bitterness. If you do not forgive, then that hatred dominates the rest of your life. More will be said on bitterness later on.
Results of falsehood
Falsehood destroys genuine friendships. Our world is lonely because no one dares to share one’s life with the other. We all talk what we would like to be like, but it is a sham. If you take the plunge into honesty, you will at first feel rather awkward but then find something beautiful arise out of your shame. You will see a genuine friendship blossom from those of a kind heart. Others might be disgusted with you. They do not dare enter such a vulnerable contract. But there are some out there who are just waiting to share their real lives with someone who really cares.
Christians can play Christian. Many are very good at it and it makes for a stuffy and prideful church. If you want to see how a church is, go to its prayer meeting. Listen and see if you hear real people talking about their real problems or protected comments that are more meant to impress. If people are really broken about their situation and can honestly share it, you can be pretty sure that the church is genuinely coming before the Lord. Others, however, are too busy with impressing God. It is unfortunate that what they do and say is called ‘Christian’ for it is not. Christ always spoke the truth.
Falsehood promises better things, but it is like taking a mouthful of gravel. Lies and deceit lead to God’s judgment. It is possible for Christians to lie, but be careful. Because of the new nature, the Christian will not lie, that is, live by lying. They are not those people that regularly lie when needed. Let us listen to a few scriptures to let you know this is what God says about liars.
The "… law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted" (1 Timothy 1:9-11).
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).
Laying aside falsehood
The scriptures here teach us to put away falsehood. How does one do this?
Know the Lord
Lying is like a shell on a turtle’s back. One is not going to be able to easily give it up. In this case, one will need to repent and come to know Christ. Only by dying to oneself through repentance can one find a new shell, that is a new life. Only He can give you forgiveness and a new life that values truth, honesty and genuineness. If you like lying, then only by being caught can one be trained. But even then it has minimal impact because at heart you are a liar. You need a desire to speak the truth.
Confess your sin
If as a Christian, you have caught yourself lying, then you need to confess this. It is not easy to confess a lie. The advantage of this is that once you have properly confessed it, then you will not dare lie anymore. Let me give you an example of lying.
A teacher bases part of the grade on reading a book. You lied. You didn’t really read it. You need to confess this before God but also before man. Be clear about stating what you did wrong and ask for forgiveness. Then God will hear you in heaven.
Some people say that they cannot break the habit of lying. It is often, they have unconfessed lies from the past. Let me give you a few more example.
If you have lied about a person, you need to go and tell the truth to the person you lied to and confess your mean act to the person you slandered. Break from your horrid sin. Don’t let it drip its guts around you any longer. You might think that you could never confess that. But think, you have said such horrible things to lead others to think evil of that person. Your reluctance to tell the truth only worsens your condemnation. Perhaps you can say something like this.
Alice, do you have a moment to talk? Thanks. I have been such a horrible person. If you reject me as a friend, I can understand. I don’t deserve to be your friend. I have lied about you. I hinted certain things about you and your friend Jack. I know they are not true. I just wanted to get you hurt. I now see how horrible I have been. I have already told John and Peggy the truth. If there is anything else I can do to clear this up, please let me know. Please would you forgive me?"
Face the consequences
If you have lied bout your school work, then you need to tell the truth. If you lied about some money, then you need to return it. Honesty is more important than your reputation, than your saved monies or even your friendships. You might have to step down from some award or friendship.
This is what it means by laying aside falsehood. Unless you confess past falsehoods, then you cannot lay it aside. I remember several times exaggerating something or saying something that was not true. The moment I said it, I trembled in my heart because now I know I needed to confess it. But how liberating to get the truth out, find forgiveness in Christ, straighten out one’s relationship with others and just be who one really is without all that pretense! By correcting your sins now, you show you have a greater love for God and will find eternal life. By hiding your sin now, then it reveals your greater love is for the world.
This gets really practical. Do you use copyrighted software, music and movies? We can justify how a poor missionary should be able to use pirated software internationally where there is no US law, but in the end I have had to simply trust God for money for that program if He really wanted me to use it. The software might help me, but if it does not please God, then this help is a false help. I have learned to get rid of pirated software, pay extra for multiuser programs, call computer software companies and see what their policy was on having a second copy on a laptop.
Do you have any unconfessed lies? To whom? How many? How long? If so, confess before the Lord each person you have lied to and tell the Lord you are going to confess your sins to another, one by one. It might take some times, but do it.
If you have been deceiving your spouse over pornography, you need to confess your sins. Your spouse will be greatly hurt. Past sins can’t be undone but only forgiven. Lust and deceit bring their pain. If you hide your sin, you will not prosper. Satan is the worker of the darkness. Give him no darkness in which to work.
Have you lied to your parents? Then you need to straighten things up with them. Don’t be a person who is a liar and will be throne into hell.
Yes, you might be rejected by man and lose all the things you have pretended to get. But if you have not honestly got them, then you have robbed others of them including things like lying to get a job, credit or a host of other things. There is no such thing as a little lie or white lie. Falsehood is based on compliance to Satan’s dark dominion.
We need to go on and reflect why we should speak the truth. Next =>.