Do you ever lie? Are there times when you misrepresent the truth–either by lying overtly or by failing to speak up to correct a misunderstanding of the situation at hand? You may feel it’s just easier, or you may think you’re helping yourself out–financially or otherwise–but regardless of how strong the temptation or seemingly good the reason, we must never lie.
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10 NIV)
The most important thing we need to understand is that God is truthful: Jesus even went so far as to say that He IS the truth (“I am the way, the truth, and the life…” John 14:6 ) When we speak what is true and are truthful in our behavior and actions we reflect Christ. We reveal that we have taken off our old sin-enslaved self and have put on the new self which is being renewed in the image of its Creator: it is evidence of God at work in us.
When, on the other hand, we give in to the temptation to misrepresent situations or even speak outright lies, we reflect another–the devil. Of him, Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
God says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22) His Word is crystal clear–we are to be completely truthful–and some of us are quite honest. Perhaps we’ve been raised to never lie, or have yet to be in a situation in which we would be genuinely tempted to lie. Yet even–and perhaps especially–if you do not feel that lying is something you struggle with, you need to be careful. It is entirely possible that you have not yet encountered something that matters enough to you to be genuinely tempted. It is easy to be truthful when nothing is at stake, but significantly less so when it is. We must give our heart completely to Jesus and trust Him so much that no matter the outcome, we will not turn away.
Furthermore, while many of us who would be appalled at the suggestion that we would ever lie may not actually break the letter of the law, we may nonetheless be guilty of violating the spirit of it. His Word tells us that “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant [agreement]—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6 NIV) Wikipedia explains the distinction between the letter and the spirit of the law like this:
“The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the “letter”) of the law, but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the law.”
So while we may obey the letter of the law–we may not actually say something that is not true–we may nonetheless be transgressing against the intent, or spirit, of the law through deceptive behavior or words, or even simply by failing to speak up to correct a misunderstanding of the situation when we know it exists.
So, are you an honest person? Or have you struggled in the past to be truthful? If you’re doing well, “…if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Corinthians 10:12) And if you’ve struggled with truthfulness, with the power Jesus gives, you can do what you were not able to on your own–you can “do all things through Christ who strengthens” you (Philippians. 4:13). “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV) Remember, you have taken off your old self with its corrupt practices; you have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator, Jesus Himself!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me reflect Your character in all I do, so when people deal with me, they see You. Amen.