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Why Do We Tell Lies?

Updated on June 24, 2015

Why Do We Tell Lies?

The Little White Lie

We all, at one time or another, have considered telling a little white lie. Perhaps to spare someone pain, or to cover up something we considered a minor offense. Are these lies harmless? No. Over time repeatedly telling lies deadens the conscience, making it easier to lie each time.

What is a lie? They are untrue statements made with the intent to deceive. But what about little white lies, aren't they little half-truths not intended to hurt anyone? Satan has a bag full of them.

However, not all white lies are done with malicious intent. For example, telling your children Santa Claus is real and going to bring them presents. Many of us grew up believing Santa was a real entity. After all, it was make believe, fun, and harmless right?

How to Tell Truths from Lies?

Regardless of what we see and hear others doing, we must remember truth is absolute. There is truth and there is error, commonly known as a lie. Truth is a standard based on an absolute and solid foundation, that being the Word of God.

The battle to discern truth from lies is an age-old battle. Christian truth, the living word of God, is our weapon against lies and falsehood. Through it we can discern truth from lies.

The Bible has a lot to say about honesty, as God has called Christians to be honest. Even little white lies to protect someone's feelings can compromise your faith.

Honesty reflects our inner character and faith. Being honest helps us keep a clear conscience. Honesty is a trait many employers seek in their hiring practices.

God made honesty one of His 10 commandments. God is our standard because He cannot lie.

Before Jesus was crucified, He was brought before Pontius Pilate who asked Him if it was true He claimed to be a king. Jesus answered it was true and He came to testify of the truth. Pontius Pilate's response was to ask "What is truth?"

Most skeptics want to know the same thing. Many atheists tend to believe Christians lie to avoid telling the truth about their faith. True, there may be ministries that purposely suppress the truth and present false information.

However this behavior is considered evil and frowned upon by those striving to live according to the biblical Christianity. The Scriptures emphasize truth to be of paramount importance hundreds of times, and is the only path to salvation.

The Bible says God desires truth in our innermost being and He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We are told we should serve and worship Him in spirit and truth. Testifying falsely against another is addressed in the Ten Commandments.

Christians and Truth

Those receiving Jesus as their Savior become a new creation established in truth and likeness of God. However, is there ever a time when lying would be acceptable? There are times when telling a lie would seem necessary.

For example, what about when Christians hid Jews during World War II? And what about when Rahab, the prostitute, lied to the king of Jericho to protect the Jewish scouts hiding on her roof? As a result of her actions her life was spared and counted as a person of faith in the New Testament. So, sometimes lying is permissible when not doing so would harm the innocent.

There are times Christian leaders get caught lying or participating in other things that go against biblical teachings. Although there are so-called Christians who lie, it's hard to discern whether they are really Christians at all. For these, it would behoove them to learn being a Christian isn't based upon what a person says. According to Jesus, many who claim to do good things in His name will be rejected on the day of judgment.

From all we have seen in today's world, it would seem truth isn't held in very high regard. Those who knowingly violate such ideals are in opposition to Christianity.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

The Bible is clear in its condemnation of deceit and lying. A lying tongue destroys its victims; the very opposite of the Word of God.

What does The Bible say about lying? The Bible says Jesus is the truth and does not lie. However in James 3:8 it says,

"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."

Truth and honesty are critical elements of a godly life. The Bible is clear that we're not to cheat, lie, or deceive others in any way.

Based on what Paul has told us in Ephesians 4, the world has contradictory ways than the Christian world. He focuses on specific areas where Christians are different beginning with honesty.

"Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another" (Ephesians 4:25).

We live in a world where truthfulness and lies are are difficult to be distinguished and think lying is necessary. Paul emphasizes in Ephesians as Christians, we are to be committed to the truth.

The Oldest Sin

It seems lying is one of the oldest sins. After all, Satan is known as “the father of lies.” Scripture has much to say about lying and falsehood. In the Garden of Eden, Satan lied to Eve, tempting her to eat the fruit.

Later, Adam and Eve lied to God about what they had done and tried to avoid responsibility.

The result of these lies was they were cast out of the Garden. Truthfulness and honesty is one of the main foundations for society God made. The Ten Commandments given to Moses contained the command:

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

Jesus was falsely accused of many things. The religious leaders accused Him of being possessed by demons...a bald faced lie. Our relationships with one another should be valued and shouldn't be jeopardized with dishonesty and lies.


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