The Politics of Lying

lying_politics

Earl Long (1895-1960), a former eccentric governor of Louisiana, once said of another politician: “You know how you can tell that fella’s lying? Watch his lips. If they’re movin’, he’s lying.”

You’ve probably heard the saying, “It takes one to know one.” Do you think Long may have made this observation from his own failings? By the way, Long apparently wasn’t a paragon of virtue himself. It has long been reported how he had a liaison with New Orleans stripper, Blaze Starr.

It’s not too difficult to point fingers at someone and accuse them of lying. Just twist the facts a little, make up something sensational that might sound appealing, and there you have it…a scandal that can smear someone’s name beyond recovery. Never mind the promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It’s only lip service for them.

We are seeing this strategy of telling lie after lie, time after time, again and again, especially among those seeking political gain for themselves. Of course, this is nothing new. Lying has been around ever since Adam and Eve gave in to the serpent’s lie (Genesis 3:1-21; John 8:43-47).

But with modern media and instant access to information, spreading lies becomes even easier and faster than ever. Unless you never watch the news or never read a tweet or never see a post on Facebook, or unless you’re from another planet, you know how politics is being deviously used to manipulate the masses through lies and distortions.

For Christians, the politics of lying is a serious issue because it negatively affects human relationships in various ways. It can cause confusion by not knowing who can and can’t be trusted, especially when crucial decisions are made. It can cause division amongst members in churches and families. It can lead toward apathy for some or aggression for others depending on the emotions deeply aroused—all because of someone’s lies. It can get rather sickening to hear people say they want to know the truth when they are actually lying and trying to cause trouble at someone else’s expense.

But the biggest reason why the politics of lying is of deep concern in the eyes of  Christians is that God Almighty hates it. Period. “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD…” (Proverbs 12:22a). God detests lying by anyone in any position and in any situation.

Because God our Holy Father hates lying lips, we do, too.  Therefore, we choose honesty and truth instead of dishonesty and lying because we know this pleases God.  “…but those who deal faithfully are his delight…(Prov. 12:22b). Unlike those who lie, good people hate what is false (Prov. 13:5). It’s the Godly thing to do.

The gravity of lying starts with the laws God gave to Israel through Moses. God’s directive, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16) is not an option. Whether it be from a legal or personal perspective, lying opposes God’s moral nature and his will. According to Pulpit Commentary,

“False witness is of two kinds, public and private. We may either seek to damage our neighbor by giving false evidence against him in a court of justice, or simply calumniate him to others in our social intercourse with them.”

This command coincides with Leviticus 19:11 and 12 where God plainly says,

“You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, NOR LIE TO ONE ANOTHER. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD,”  (New American Standard Bible, NASB).

In the New Testament, Jesus reiterates and confirms God’s commands, including bearing false testimony or lying. Quoting the Mosaic Law, Jesus said,

“Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, DON’T LIE, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself,” (Matthew 19:18, The Message, MSG).

The early church dealt with lying in a very severe way. In one incident, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, held back some of the money from the sale of a piece of their property instead of giving it to the church. The Apostle Peter confronted Ananias alone about it, saying,

“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of price of the land? While it remained unsold did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.”

At that moment, Ananias fell down and died and they buried him.

Three hours later, Sapphira came in to the room and Peter questioned her. She didn’t yet know what had just happened to her husband. Peter inquired,

“Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price.”

She responded, “Yes, that was the price.” But it was a lie. So Peter said,

“Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door and they shall carry you out as well.”

So, like her husband when he lied, she died when she lied. And they carried her corpse out of the room and buried her beside her husband. (Acts 5:1-11)

The Apostle Paul stressed the importance of telling the truth as opposed to lying to one another. He instructed the Ephesian church, “Therefore, laying aside all falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another,” (Eph. 4:25).

Since truth is an essential virtue that Christians are committed to pursue (Philippians 4:8-9), it is very sad to think that some will use falsehood just to gain notoriety and power in the world. There are those who mistakenly believe that twisting the truth and telling lies will get them the approval and recognition they so desperately crave. And politics is just full of it. To us, this creates very shaky ground upon which to base any semblance of civility in our society.

It’s truly a shame that there are those who are not as interested in truth as they are in hurting others and stepping on innocent people to make themselves look innocent and pure. There are even those who want to believe falsehoods so much, that they don’t want to hear the truth from others, and will even attack them when the truth is told.

As we can expect, this not uncommon. We see it happening more and more these days. Christians are not surprised when they are abused and mocked for believing and teaching truth in contrast to the lies of others. It’s typical, as well, that we are despised by them for asking questions and wanting to get at the truth. It’s a sign of the times (Matthew 5:11).

Speaking of signs…one of the signs of the last days before Jesus returns is the rise of the Anti-Christ (a.k.a., the Beast) and False Prophet (Revelation 13). The politics of their lies will deceive many who are not fully grounded in God’s Word of truth (2 Timothy 3:1-1-13; 4:3-4; 1 John 2:18-24).

It saddens us that a lot of gullible people, even many who profess to be believers, will follow these liars all the way to their own destruction. God will send them a delusion that they will believe a lie, for their “pleasure in unrighteousness” will lead them to be deceived (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 19:20-21). It will be a true test of our faith seeing that anyone who does not fall for their lies, and take a stand for the truth, will be persecuted for it (2 Peter 3:3-4; Rev. 13:6-10, 15-18).

We can expect these things because Jesus Christ, himself, was attacked by the liars of his day even though he IS the Truth (John 14:6). Hypocrisy, which amounts to living a lie, was at the heart of Jesus’ pronouncement of seven woes to the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-36).

Interestingly, these prominent leaders made a feeble attempt to use flattery when they sent, among others, some politically inclined Jews called Herodians to approach Jesus saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for you are not partial to any….” (Matthew 22:15-16). Jesus could see right through their scheme to “trap him” and taught them a truth that silenced them in sheer astonishment (Matthew 22:17-22).

In the Spirit of Christ, Christians do not let the politics of lying keep them from pursuing the truth. For we can expect that one day, the truth will triumph over falsehood forever. In fact, God will rid the world of lying when all liars will be consumed in the lake of fire on Judgment Day:

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death,” (Revelation 21:8, English Standard Version, ESV).

The truth that God will judge all liars one day might sound like doom. But it only sounds like doom to those who are guilty of it. Those who habitually lie for profit or gain of any kind ought to know what they are in store for: God’s righteous wrath, (2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 20:11-15).

On the contrary, to those believers who sincerely and faithfully follow Christ all the way to the end (Rev. 14:5, 12-13; 20:4-6; 21:4), it is Good News to know that truth will finally triumph over lying (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:1-10). It means that God’s Kingdom will not be inhabited by liars when his Son comes to establish it.

Rest assured, the politics of lying will cease for good as God’s Word promises. Yes, we can truly have peace of mind knowing that we will never have to put up with lying lips again (1 Thess. 5:23-24). Glory to God!

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. Man may lie but God doesn’t because, as it says in John 3:33, “God is true.” Here is Mercy Masika singing, “He Never Lie,” https://youtu.be/P55QrD3oI6s

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