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The Lies We Tell 1: What Does God Say About Lying?

The Lies We Tell Day 1: What Does God Say About Lying?

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19, ESV)

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16, ESV)

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19, ESV)

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech. (Proverbs 6:12, ESV)

From the beginning of the Bible, God shows that He abhors lying. In Genesis 3, we can see the effect that deceit had on mankind. The serpent (Satan) was described in verse 1 as “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.” The craftiness of the serpent is shown in his ability to deceive Adam and Eve into eating of the fruit of the tree that God commanded them not to eat. This deceit that led to disobedience did not go unpunished. From that day forward, the serpent was cursed to slither on his belly and would be at enmity with mankind. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and their time of fellowship with God was over. 

Even during the institution of God’s law, He made sure that lying was addressed. The Ten Commandments included having no other gods, not making any graven image, not taking the Lord’s name in vain, remembering the Sabbath day, honoring your father and mother, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not coveting—and not lying. This was not a suggestion by God—it was a command: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Lying was not a “small enough” sin to be excluded from His list of commandments. God no doubt had the deceit in the Garden of Eden on His mind as He spoke these commandments, and He wanted to be sure His chosen people realized how seriously lying would be taken. We may feel that lying is not a big deal as long as it doesn’t harm anyone, or maybe even if a lie is told to someone “for their own good.” But it doesn’t matter how we feel about certain sins. God is perfect and holy, and He does not tolerate sin. 

James 2:10 tells us that “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” Even if, for some miraculous reason, the only sin you ever committed in your life was telling one small, insignificant white lie, James reminds us that even one sin is still enough to keep us out of God’s perfect Heaven. It doesn’t matter how small we feel the lie is or the reason behind it, whatever the case may be, God is very clear in His Word that lying is wrong and it is a sin. As we make our way through this study about lying, it is my prayer that each of us will be more aware of the lies we tell, both to ourselves and to others, and remember how God feels about these lies. With help from the Holy Spirit, we can work to limit the lies we tell and to be truthful in our walk with the Lord.

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