Importance of Telling the Truth
One of the biggest things I struggle with is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. After reading some staggering statistics, I discovered a survey of 20,000 middle and high school students which found out that 92 percent of the students admitted lying to their parents in the past year and 73 percent said they lied weekly. However, 91 percent of everyone surveyed said they were “satisfied with my own ethics and character” (Readers Digest, Nov. 1999, pp. 81-82). This means that like them, my conscience has grown insensitive to sinning.
The truth can be broken in several ways. One of the ways I have avoided telling the truth is by telling half-truths, which means I sort of tell the truth, but not the whole truth. Kinda like saying I don’t feel well enough to go to work when I don’t feel to sick not to go to work. I have also told white-lies, which is more of an “innocent lie”, which is still a lie. I have also lied as to make an exaggeration. Exaggerating to the point where the story makes me look better or make people feel sympathetic for me, for whatever reason.
I read some articles regarding lying in the Bible. Some of the greatest men and women in The Bible have stories about them regarding lying, this includes Rachel, David, Aaron, Isaac, Moses, Sarah and even Abraham. Even saints have struggled with being truthful, so no one is exempt. One of the verses regarding this is in Ephesians 4:25, which states, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” Like George said at Central when we read verses aloud, what is the therefore, there for? After reading the section beforehand, Ephesians 4:22-24:
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
In this section, Paul tells us how to be different from out past corruption and deceitful lives. Since God has given us eternal life and changed us through the power of the gospel, we are to live like Jesus, by putting away our old way of life. It is much easier to hear that than to apply it. To overcome something you struggle with, you must first admit you struggle with it and define what it is that you struggle with.
According to Merriam Webster, the definition of truth is an accurate representation of the facts. In the Bible, the truth is defined as the conformity to God’s standards as stated in his word. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 God is the truth. He represent the truth. When it comes to little white-lies, a verse to help me remember telling the truth will not always be easy is better than sparing someone’s feelings is found in Ephesians 4:15, which says “that we must speak the truth in love”. Ephesians 4:15 reads, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Telling the truth, even when it hurts, can be done best by saying the truth in the least offensive way so as to not offend someone else. When it comes to telling someone the truth that might hurt, it is better to remember the golden rule, written in Matthew 7:12, in a different way. Instead of thinking “do to others what you would have them do to you,” think of “how would I want someone to tell me this?”
However, even though being truthful means giving an accurate representation of the facts, that does not mean I need to say everything I know. If something comes up that I told someone I would not talk about or think that telling the truth could be damaging, I could simply reply “I’m not free to talk about that matter.” That way I am not lying. Being truthful also doesn’t mean I need to share my thoughts on everything. Sometimes, it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself. In Proverbs 10:19, it says “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”
When humans first sinned, it led to a long line of deceiving others by our own hypocrisy and greed. Telling the truth can represent our life in Christ. As a new creation in Christ, I am to live with the truth. Jesus is the truth, which means I am to live as a truthful person.
Even though I know telling little white lies are a sin as well as exaggerations it is still hard to overcome it. I found a different article, written by a Christian, about five strategies to help with telling the truth. However, instead of simply copying and pasting the strategies, I’m going to rephrase them in a way that I understand them and can better remember them.
Recognize the Source of Truth and the Source of Falsehood
God is the source of truth and the only true God, whose word is the truth. The verse that represents this is John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Since God is the source of truth, He cannot lie. Titus 1:2 says that “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” and Hebrews 6:18 says “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.” As such, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, “the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” However, Satan is the source of all falsehood and lies. Jesus has called Satan “a liar and the father of lies”, according to John 8:44. Satan introduced lying in Genesis when he basically that God was lying about the forbidden fruit. Satan deceived Eve in Genesis 3:4 by saying, “You surely will not die!” Keep the sources of truth and the source of lies in mind will help keep me grounded in a culture that promotes compromising the truth.
Recognize the Importance of Truthfulness to God
Truthfulness is important to God because He is the God of truth who hates lying and falsehood. In Proverbs 6:16-19, Solomon lists out seven things God hates.
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
Two of the seven things listed deal with lying. According to Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to The Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” Truth is also important to God because truth is the basis for basic conversations. When Adam and Eve sinned, they experienced brokenness from each other and from God. Adam and Eve tried to hide away from God. When God confronted Adam, he blamed Eve and when Eve was confronted she blamed the serpent. It’s rather silly not being honest before The Lord, since He knows our every thought. The core of a good relationship is trust. Distrust can lead to distance within a relationship, which is what I believe we have struggled with.
Choose to Obey God by Making a Prior Commitment Not To Lie, But Rather to Speak the Truth
The first thing to do is obey God. Instead of trying to figure out the root of your lying, Paul simply says to “Stop lying and start speaking the truth!” The second thing to do is make a prior commitment not to lie. I must make a decision not to lie before a situation arises in which I can lie. As a new creation, I should commit myself to say no to the temptation to lie. It is easy to lie and easy to get trapped in a lie. Satan set up Peter for lying in John 18:17, which says “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you” That question, as it is written, is designed for a negative answer. Peter fell into the lie by saying “I am not.” Once you have told a lie, it’s even harder to correct yourself and tell the truth. Next, it is important to make a commitment prior to telling the truth, even if it makes me look bad. I typically lie in order to cover up my previous sin or because I’m worried what will happen if I am honest. In Genesis 12:10-20:
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
Abraham told Sarah to say that she was his sister because he was afraid if they knew she was his wife, they would kill him in order to take her. He justified the lie because it was a simply half-truth. Abraham lied again, years later with Abimelech in Genesis 20:1-18:
The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree. “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous
Years later, Isaac followed his dad with the same sin. In Genesis 26:7-11:
When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.” When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.” Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
Each time they lied, it was out of fear of what could happen if they told the truth. This fear does not represent faith in The Lord. To battle this sin, I will resolve to speak the truth whether it be about something big or something small. People who end up with fraud or illegal cover-ups don’t start lying there, it’s usually smaller lies that become bigger lies. Continuous lying, whether small or big will make my conscience not feel guilty over lying.
Confess Your Sins Immediately, First to God and Then to the Ones You Have Sinned Against
I have fallen into a habit of lying about small things because I am worried about what will happen if I tell the truth. No matter what, the truth will come out and our sin will be exposed. No matter how hard I try to cover up something, you will inevitably find out. It would be much simpler to tell you the truth and face the consequences than to hide it from you then face the consequences plus more. The more I cover things up, the more I will have to lie to keep hiding it. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
Consider the Consequences of Lying
Proverbs 19:5 says, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.” Even though some people get away with lying and seem to go unpunished, that doesn’t mean they will get away with it before God. Our main purpose in life is to bring Glory to God. According to 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” There is no way that a lie could bring Glory to God. Lying does not help other believers as it breaks the truth and ends up hurting them in the long run. Your testimony is worth more than a job or friends. If telling the truth hurts your friendships (if told nicely) or causes you to lose your job, then it didn’t matter. Lying does not cause me to lose my salvation, but saying I am Christian then lying means I may not be genuine in my faith. In Revelations 21:8, it warns that liars will have “their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Speaking the truth comes across as love. As we are members of one another, we must speak truth. By lying, I am injuring myself and even injuring Christ as I am a part of His body. I wouldn’t deliberately hurt myself or my family, so I shouldn’t lie because it’ll hurt me and everyone around me in the end.
Humans by nature are not honest according to Psalm 116:11, “I trusted in the LORD when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” Lying has earth rewards, but comes at a price of more evil according to Proverbs 17:4. “A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.” A verse to represent all of this is Mark 8:36, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Honesty should be said with gentleness and love. An honest and truthful person should be motivated by love, not an obsession with the truth. This can be seen in Proverbs 19:22, “What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.”
Although all the verses above are not directly about lying, some are more of stories about lying, I believe they ring true. On the next few pages are the verses from above as well as some other scriptures I have come across. I am adding these pages since I’m going to print this out so I can keep it with me so I can work on memorizing these scriptures.
“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” – Ephesians 4:25
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” – John 17:17
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15
“Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” – Proverbs 10:19
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” – John 17:3
“In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time”- Titus 1:2
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.” – Hebrews 6:18
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” – Proverbs 6:16-19
“Lying lips are an abomination to The Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” – Proverbs 12:22
“You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you” – John 18:17
“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.” – Proverbs 19:5
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
“A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.” – Proverbs 17:4
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – Mark 8:36
“What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.” – Proverbs 19:22
“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;” – Zechariah 8:16
“You destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest.” – Psalm 5:6
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8:44
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:16
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:12
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” – Luke 8:17