In their book “The Day America Told the Truth,” authors James Patterson and Peter Kim revealed that 91 percent of Americans lie on a daily basis.
God doesn’t like lying. Let me take it a step further: God hates lying.
Proverbs 6 lists seven things God hates, and it’s worth noting that two of them refer to dishonesty:
“There are six things the Lord hates – no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family” (verses 16–19 NLT).
Why is God so adamantly opposed to lying? Because it’s so destructive. In the book of Proverbs we’re told:
“Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow” (25:18 NLT).
From this we could safely conclude that God hates lying in any form. He hates it because he is the source of all truth. In fact, God used that word to describe his very character. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 NLT).
When God chose a word to describe who he is, he said, “I am … the truth.”
In dramatic contrast, Satan is identified as “the father of lies” (John 8:44 NLT).
It’s as clear as day: God is truth, and Satan is the father of lies. Therefore when we lie, we are behaving more like the children of the devil than the children of God.
Are you lying about something or someone right now? Do you have a résumé that isn’t honest? Do you find that you give exaggerated reports of what you’ve done? Are you lying about someone else to tear them down and make yourself look better? That is a sin before God.
God doesn’t say, however, that if you have ever told a lie, you can’t worship him. If that were the case, none of us could worship him. We have all lied in one way, shape, or form. At the same time, if you are practicing deceit, if you are continuing to tell lies, then it will hinder your fellowship with God. It’s offensive to him.
You might say, “Lying isn’t a problem in my life. I never lie.” Actually, you may lie a little more often than you think you do.
One way people lie is by gossip and backbiting. Gossip is a powerful force. It wrecks marriages. It ruins careers. It topples governments. It destroys reputations. It spawns suspicion. It generates grief. Even the very word hisses when it’s pronounced. And if you’ve ever had someone gossip about you and tell lies about you, then you know how painful it can be.
Sometimes a little bit of truth is presented with a lot of lies added to it. The tabloids do this. They’ll include a shred of truth to give their article a believability factor, but then they fill it with all kinds of lies.
Sometimes people rationalize gossip. They’ll present it in ways like, “Have you heard?” or “Did you know?” or “I don’t believe it’s true, but I heard …” or “I wouldn’t tell you, but I know it won’t go any further. …” Then there’s the so-called spiritual version: “I’m telling you this only so you can pray. …” It’s gossip. Proverbs 20:19 says, “A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers” (NLT).
I don’t like to entertain gossip, so when people come to me with information about someone, I’ll ask how they know it’s true. What’s their source? Have they gone to the person they’re talking about and asked for their perspective? Can I quote them on this? If the answer is no, then don’t tell me.
Another way people lie is through flattery. While backbiting is saying behind a person’s back what we would never say to their face, flattery is the opposite. Flattery is saying things to a person’s face that we would never say behind his or her back. Kids are very good at this with their parents. They’ve taken it to an art form. It’s tempting to flatter someone when you want to get something from them. But it’s a form of lying.
Exaggeration is another way people lie. They’ll tell a story and begin to embellish it a little. Each time the story is told, it becomes more dramatic. Of course, they’re always the heroes of their own stories, which show how clever they were or how they came into a situation with just the right words. They stretch the facts a bit. It’s a form of lying.
Keeping silence is another form of lying. When we hear something about someone else that we know for a fact isn’t true, and we remain silent, it’s a form of lying. They might be slamming a friend, and we don’t stand up for that friend. We don’t tell them the truth. That is slander by silence. It’s complicity by passivity.
We live in a time when moral relativism is the rule of the day, when many people don’t believe in absolutes. They don’t believe there is such a thing as absolute truth. If they want to be a success and have to steal, lie, or maybe even murder to get there, that is what they’ll do.
Do you have sins you’re ashamed of, wrongs you’ve committed? God stands ready to forgive you. If you will say, “God, I’m sorry for my sin and know it’s wrong, but I believe Jesus paid the price for me, and I want to put my complete faith and trust in Him,” God will forgive you of every sin you’ve ever committed. He will wipe your slate clean.
Greg Laurie is an American author and pastor who serves as the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, Harvest Church at Kumulani in Kapalua, Hawaii, and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California.