Our church’s Faithkidz youth group was recently learning about God’s top seven most-hated sins from Proverbs 6:16-19. Number two on the list is a “lying tongue” which has sparked a lot of discussion from the Faithkidz. A couple of them shared that in order to protect themselves at school they have to lie at times.
In looking for some advice they could give their young people on this discussion, the youth leaders thought it would be helpful to pass around a sheet of paper to some in the congregation with the question, “In today’s world of everyday living, how can the young people be safe and protect themselves without sinning by lying?”
Since I was one of those asked to respond to the question, I shared a testimony someone had written which I found on-line:
– I need to stop telling lies and fearing the truth will be too painful for people to hear.
– I need to stop telling lies and believing this protects people (and me) from harm.
– I need to stop telling lies and thinking that this will make people like me more.
It started off with lying to protect myself, from bullying, from abuse, from my parents and being beaten up if I did something wrong. Then as I grew up, I saw it as ‘diplomacy’ – I thought I was doing a good deed, hiding people from the ‘horrible’ truth. And I lie to feel accepted – if people don’t get upset, I will not be cast aside or shouted at, so I play it ‘safe’ and tell a lie.
I need to take responsibility. I need to have courage to tell it like it is, exactly the way it is. You know where you stand with the truth and with the truth, people are ultimately always better off.
I have hurt my dearest Love, the love of my life, this way. I hope he can one day forgive me, trust me again. And I am now pledging to him, and to myself, that I am not going to lie anymore, for me, and for what I hope is still our future together.
So help me.
What this testimony says to me is that lying leads to more lying. Lying might seem to work at the moment but that’s how we’re deceived. Sooner or later someone will catch us in our lie and the outcome is usually worse than if we’d just been honest in the first place and told the truth.
We never have to cover up when we tell the truth. Our minds will be at ease not having to worry about remembering the previous lie so that we won’t get caught telling the next lie. It can become a vicious circle. The only way to get out of it is tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
People will respect us in the long run if we stand up to them and show them confidence and courage. In so doing, we demonstrate that we live on a higher principle of honesty and truth. Even though they will try everything in their power to knock us down to their level, they will take notice of our resolve. That’s why we must stand tall and strong no matter what it takes, in spite of our temptation to lie or twist the truth.
If we truly believe that all lying is wrong, we do not need to feel guilty for reporting those who pose a threat to us if we are truthful. We are actually doing the right thing by going to those in authority such as teachers, parents, or police and tell them the honest truth of what is happening. This is how to receive genuine protection, not having to lie.
We can also keep ourselves out of threatening situations in a variety of ways: Change our routines or schedules to avoid these persons; put ourselves in certain places where they do not hang out; be involved in a Christian group; choose friends, especially Christians, who can truly be trusted for support to overcome the habit of lying. Self-confidence and healthy self-esteem goes a long way, as well. But one of our greatest resources for helping us to keep from lying is prayer, faith, and obedience to God.
Consider the following scriptures and their instructions in regard to lying (New Living Translation):
Proverbs 12:19 Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.
Proverbs 25:18 Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
Proverbs 19:5 A man who tells lies about someone will be punished. He who tells lies will not get away.
Revelation 21:8 But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars – their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Colossians 3:9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds!
Exodus 20:6 You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
Proverbs 24:28 Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them.
1 Corinthians 13:6 Love rejoices with the truth.
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
1 Timothy 1:9-11 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
Ephesians 4:25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
Good News to you!