The famous quote by Sir Walter Scott, "Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive" refers to how complicated and messy life becomes when we start lying.
In essence, when we lie we confine ourselves in a tangled sticky trap that leaves us struggling in vain for liberation.
Lying is an absolute pet peeve of mine. I’d almost rather you slap my face than boldly lie to me. I consider lying offensive, rude and disrespectful.
You see, once you lie to me you will forever be a liar in my book. A person that I will be reluctant to trust and I will always question your motives and integrity.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “little white lie.”
Paints a picture of innocence doesn’t it? That some lies are ok to tell, that they aren’t really harmful and can be a necessary evil.
You know, the little white lie that you tell when your friend calls and invites you to a party and you make an excuse up that isn’t true because you simply just don’t want to go. You couldn’t possibly tell the truth because it would hurt their feelings. You couldn’t possibly just decline without providing any explanation at all because that just wouldn’t feel right.
Don’t fool yourself.
The truth is that ALL lies are poisonous and destructive.
Lies kill relationships and shatter trust. They have lasting impact because they seem to have a way of worming themselves to the surface to be laid bare drying in the afternoon sun for all to see. They will haunt you and will eventually harm your reputation.
So, why do we resort to lying?
Impress or "one up" another to elevate ourselves
Spare someone’s feelings
For some, lying is a habit that became so second nature that they can’t even distinguish the truth anymore.
Lies are like dynamite. They can be small but carry a powerful punch!
Over the years, I’ve seen first-hand the destructive power of a lie--
The friend that you just can’t trust because they never honor their commitments and keep their word. Letting you down, time and time again, to the point that you have to cut them out of your life completely for your own sanity.
The marriage that was destroyed because of alcoholism and the endless barrage of lies and denials that accompanied the disease.
The family that was destroyed because of the infidelity of a spouse.
The work relationship that was severed because of the untruths of an employee.
How does God respond to lying?
Let’s look at the Bible story of Ananias and Sapphira found in Acts 5:1-10:
“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.”
Ananias and Sapphira were dishonest not only with their words but also in their actions. They presented a false image of themselves by implying a greater spirituality and generosity than they actually possessed. Appearances seemed to be their only concern and lying was of no consequence. That is until they were struck dead!
Clearly, lying is a really big deal to God and therefore, it should be a big deal to us as well.
There is no lie that God will simply overlook- great or small.
Unlike, Ananias and Sapphira, we should have a healthy fear of the Lord; as fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
As Christians, when we lie what does that say about our God? What does that say about our faith?
If someone can’t trust us in the little things how can they trust us about the truth of Christ?
Let's untangle our webs and spin no more tales-- big or small for our credibility depends on it!
Father, forgive us for the times that we’ve lied-even the "little white lies" that we’ve told out of convenience. Give us a healthy fear of you so that we may have wisdom and can speak with integrity about your goodness. May we live a life that never causes anyone to doubt the truth that is in Christ Jesus.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. – Proverbs 12:22