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The Lies We Tell 2: Why Do We Lie?

The Lies We Tell Day 2: Why Do We Lie?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, ESV)

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone. (Matthew 15:18-20, ESV)

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44, ESV)

“I’m not a crook.” – Richard Nixon

On June 17, 1972, five burglars were arrested at the office of the DNC in the Watergate building in Washington, DC. It was dismissed by then-President Richard Nixon as a “third-rate burglary” and he assured the American people that neither he nor his White House staff had anything to do with this break-in to the rival DNC headquarters. It was eventually uncovered that the burglars were returning to the Watergate building to replace surveillance equipment that wasn’t working related to a previous break-in. The goal was to listen in on the offices of the Democratic Party and presidential candidate George McGovern in order to get the upper hand in the 1972 presidential election. 

Richard Nixon, despite the controversy surrounding the election, was re-elected to serve a second term as President of the United States. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ultimately helped uncover that President Nixon played a role in the surveillance plan and even helped cover it all up. Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” quote goes down as one of the most famous lies in United States political history. President Nixon, embroiled in scandal, chose to resign from office on August 9, 1974, to avoid impeachment. Though he never publicly admitted to doing anything wrong, his actions show that he knew judgment day was coming and it was better, in his mind, to resign rather than to be forced out via an impeachment trial. 

Why did Nixon lie? Well, I would venture to say he lied because he thought he could get away with it and he knew that major consequences would follow (impeachment, for one!) if he told the truth. That being said, President Nixon lied for the same reason we all lie: he was a sinner! Romans 3:23 reminds us that we ALL sin and fall short of God’s glory. Even though there are many reasons we tell lies, it all points back to our sinful nature. “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners” is often quoted in gospel sermons because it is true. 

Achan lied and hid the spoils of war for personal gain (Joshua 7); Abraham lied about his marital status with Sarah in an attempt to protect his life (Genesis 20); King David lied repeatedly to cover up the sin of adultery (2 Samuel 11-12); Peter lied about knowing the Lord Jesus because he was afraid (Luke 22); Ananias and Sapphira lied about a donation to the church to benefit financially and possibly to appear to be more spiritual (Acts 5); Satan lied to Eve to get her to doubt God (Genesis 3); even Sarah lied to God because she was afraid to admit she laughed at His promise (Genesis 18). Each of these Bible characters lied for one reason or another, but they all have one thing in common: they were sinners. These lies were eventually uncovered, and the consequences were dire, even leading to death in a few cases. 

I am sure we can all think of times in our lives when we told a lie, possibly even a series of lies, for our own personal gain. As believers, we understand that lying is wrong, and yet we still seem to have a difficult time controlling ourselves. The power that sin has is real, but we can be thankful that the Holy Spirit resides within us. I hope this study is a challenge to each one of us to be more truthful, relying on the God who loves us, the Son who died for us, and the Spirit within us to help us continue to grow in our walk with Him.

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