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What Are Lies?

Updated on August 26, 2017
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I became a news reporter for the Marine Corps in the early 70's. I'm now retired and write on a wide variety of subjects.

Truth Is Constant And Unchangable

According to Wikipedia A lie is a statement used intentionally for the purpose of deception. A person who lies is referred to as a liar. Lies may be employed to serve a variety of purposes. Generally, the term "lie" carries a negative connotation and those who tell them are open to social, legal, religious, or criminal sanctions. Believing and acting on these lies can have serious consequences.

The late Dr. Alfred Jepsen, a former professor of the Old Testament at the University of Greisfwald, had this to say.

“Truth is is constant and unchangeable . . . something on which someone can rely, which will prove to be true in the future.” So we can add “unchangeable,” “unreliable,” “faithfulness,” “constancy,” and “dependability,” as words conveying the core meaning of biblical truth.

If we think about it, this definition actually strengthens what truth means. Many today understand truth simply as something declared to be a fact by science. The problem with this is scientists can be wrong. There are many instances of scientific “truths” published as “fact” later proven wrong. For example, prior to the famous discovery in 1938 of a living Coelacanth fish, scientists said it had been extinct for millions of years. More recently, the Live Science website reported “an increasing number of scientific studies are just plain wrong and ultimately retracted. Most involved no blatant deception, but data from others were simply made up.”

Little White Lies

Lies are things we say to fool others. But what about little white lies? Is there a difference and do they hurt anyone? Not necessarily. Take parents telling their children about Santa Claus and the presents he brings. Many of us grew up believing Santa was real and no one was hurt. After all, it was innocent make believe, fun. We have all thought about, or told a little white lie.

Is there anything wrong with this? Obviously every time we tell a lie it becomes easier the next time we are tempted to tell one. Of course, there's always a segment of society who take things of this nature too seriously and try convincing everyone else there can be dire consequences. Being honest lets others see we can be trusted.

Is Telling A Lie Always Wrong?

Most want to know the same thing. Is there anytime lying might be alright? Examples in history and biblical accounts show us when telling a lie would be right. For example, when Christians hid Jews during World War II? Then there was the biblical account of Rahab who lied to the king of Jericho to protect the Jewish scouts hiding on her roof? So, we can see there are times when lying would be appropriate. Otherwise, innocent people might be seriously hurt. However, in today's world it seems being honest isn't a primary concern. We live in a world where being truthful is difficult and many believe lying is necessary.

Lying is one of the oldest sins. After all, Satan is known as “the father of lies.”

Each day, we make the choice many times, whether to lie or tell the truth. Usually we ignore the possible consequences. Even the smallest lie can cost money, and impact relationships.

You Live A Lie Forever

Lying requires a lot more effort than telling the truth. When one tells the truth, they're simply recalling what happened. With a lie one has to remember what they're trying to hide, develop a believable story, and then sell it. At the time, not much is considered about having to live that lie forever as to not get caught.

Telling lies also cause stress and other physical problems, but it's useful and even necessary at times. Like when lying would put their safety in danger, There are always exceptions.

We all know we're not going to become totally honest. It's just not the way people are. Overall, honesty provides more mental and physical health benefits than dishonesty. We might find some reasons to lie that seem necessary, but we'll find more that aren't.

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