Finally, we lie because we are tempted by Satan himself. Jesus called him “the father of lies” (John 8:44). He helps us along, encouraging us to be less than honest with God, others, and ourselves.
Why is lying wrong?
Now, we’re ready for our third question: Why is lying wrong? If 91% of us do it today, and people did it all through the Bible, why is it so wrong? Here are the facts.
God says it is wrong. Listen to Psalm 101:7: “No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.” And listen to Ephesians 5:25: “Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.” God says lying is wrong.
Lying offends the character of God. Jesus is truth (John 14:6). The Bible calls our Lord “a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). Thus lying runs counter to his very nature.
Listen to Proverbs 6:16-19: “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 man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” See how God feels about deceit?
Lying sacrifices trust. Do you remember the last time someone lied to you—perhaps a national politician or leader, or a personal relationship? Have you been able to trust them since?
Lying destroys people. Once a lie has been told about someone, it can never be taken back.
The rabbis used to tell about a man who repeated gossip and slander about his rabbi. Finally he came to him and apologized, and asked what he could do to make things right. The rabbi gave him a bag filled with feathers, and told him to empty it into the wind at the top of a nearby hill. He did, and brought back the empty bag. Then the rabbi told him to go back and pick up all the feathers, which by now had blown across the town and the countryside. Of course he could not. The man then understood the damage he had caused. Do we?
In short, lies destroy. Never underestimate their power or the damage they can do.
Who do you think said these words: “The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one…. If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it to be the truth”? It was Adolf Hitler. And six million Jews died from his lies.
How do we keep the ninth commandment?
Now we’re ready for our last question: how do we keep the ninth commandment? How do we deal with lies, in our lives and our culture?
First, confront them as soon as possible. Don’t let their malignancy grow.Deal with this issue in your own life. If you find deceit in your words, your thoughts, your actions, confess it to God, right now.Deal with this issue with your children. Confess this sin to those you’ve hurt. This will hurt you, and make it far harder to lie next time.
Second, don’t listen to the lies of others. Know that if someone will lie about me to you, they’ll probably lie about you to me. Be the one who stops the cycle of lies and rumors and gossip.
Third, live with consistent integrity. Be the same person when you talk to someone as when you talk about them. Be the same in private as in public. Be one person, always.
Will Rogers once advised, “So live that you would not be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.” That’s good advice.
Last, stay close to God. Jesus always told the truth. In fact, he was the Truth. The best way to keep the ninth commandment is to get close to him—to ask his Spirit to fill and control you, to stay right with him as the source of your life. Then all which comes from your heart and lips will be right.
The writer of Proverbs was wise enough to pray, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me.” Are we that wise today?
Our church in Midland helped a number of villages in the north of Mexico. Their greatest need was always for clean water. The people would typically dig their water well at the lowest spot in the village, because it was easier. But when it rained, refuse from the stables and the houses flowed into the well, contaminating the water.
We learned to drill wells at the highest spot in the village, above every place else, if we wanted the water from those wells to be pure.
Let us pray.