I was stood next to my son Jonathan at the top of the stairs. He tried to kick his trousers down the stairs for the wash and nearly threw himself down the stairs! Having lightening reactions, I grabbed him and pulled him back to safety. Instead of being relieved he’d been rescued, he immediately burst into tears and shouted, “It wasn’t me! Isaac pushed me!”
I didn’t know whether to laugh at the craziness or cry! It is ridiculous the lies he tells to avoid getting into trouble!
Isaac is much more candid:
Me: “Isaac what did you do to your brother?”
Isaac: “I punched him in the face because he was getting on my nerves!”
I wonder which category you fall into?
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[d] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[e] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Why do we lie?
- To get ourselves out of trouble
- To save someone’s feelings
- Because it isn’t our story to tell so we fob someone off.
When I was a teenager I was rather easily led and got in with the wrong crowd. I smoked from being 13 years old and always had a good excuse as to why I had cigarettes in my pocket – usually along the lines of looking after them for someone else. I seemed always to be telling lies to try and avoid getting in trouble for the bad choices I was making. However, my mum used to find out absolutely everything I ever did – I’m not sure whether she had good spies around or if it was God prompting her that something wasn’t right, but eventually I realised that it was pointless to lie to Mum because the truth was coming out. Truth has a habit of doing that. It doesn’t like to stay hidden for very long.
But if I’m being really honest I do lie now on occasion. I know! Shock horror!
My to-do list is so long most of the time that I could wear it for a toga party, but then the boss adds to it continually; can you do this? can you do that? can you also do….? Then having piled on hundreds of things, will ask if I’ve done the one thing I haven’t done, and on occasion I’ve said ‘YES I have’. Because I don’t want to get in trouble. I feel bad and then I always do it straight away, but it doesn’t make it better that I’ve just told a lie to get out of trouble.
The other area where I lie, is that I embellish. I embellish a story to make it more interesting or fill in gaps, or to make people laugh. I exaggerate.
Sometimes I lie to save someone’s feelings. “Do I look fat in this dress?” “No! you look lovely!”
And so these are the areas I am working on, and the things that the Holy Spirit brought to mind when I read that verse yesterday.
If we need to lie so we don’t get in trouble, don’t do the thing that will get us in trouble in the first place!
Try to tell a story straight without adding anything or taking anything away from it.
I don’t know how to get around the ‘does my bum look big in this?’ type question, but I guess a bit of kindness, diplomacy and tact might be better than a lie?
I always say to my boys that they will get in less trouble if they tell the truth, than if they lie and get found out. Plus if they tell the truth most of the time and there is a situation where it’s one person’s word against another, you’re going to believe the one who mostly tells the truth. This is something we have to continually work on because our natural reaction is to protect ourselves from getting into trouble.
The thing is, if we don’t continually check ourselves and make a conscious effort not to lie, things can get out of control. Sadly I know too many people who tell lies as easily as telling the truth.
A liar needs to have a good memory
The problem is these lies become a web that tangle us up and trap us. Having a good memory is crucial for a liar or it will quickly become clear to everyone around that there is a problem and the facts don’t add up! I have a friend who’s whole life was one big lie. Being slightly naïve and gullible I believed every word, but as the truth came out bit by bit and the story began to unravel, I felt hurt and rather stupid. The truth is, she didn’t need to lie or to embellish. We would have been there for her anyway.
Lies hurt people. And one lie leads to another lie, and often another lie. And so on.
If we want to avoid hurting people and getting trapped by our own words, the secret is to try to always tell the truth, however hard that is. If we accidentally lie, immediately correct it and apologise. That is harder than it sounds and takes some humility to be able to admit to telling lie, but trust me when I say that ‘the TRUTH will set you FREE’.
John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”