It was Adolf Hitler who famously said, If you tell a big lie, enough times, it will be believed and the history books tell us he was right. The lies he told were enough to convince the German population that the Jews had to be eliminated from the Earth. It was a shocking part of world history.
Yes, that’s an extreme example to ask the question. Is it acceptable to tell lies? Let’s have a look at this. Lying is harmful to ourselves, and the people that we’re in relationships with. Lying itself is actually an act of betrayal. It violates the trust your friend, partner or family member is trying to build with you. And when people uncover lies depending on how damaging they are, some relationships are actually ruined, so the risk is not worth losing such a valuable connection.
The longer you lie, the more complicated it becomes. Sometimes it’s easier to lie our way out of the situation than admit the truth, but rarely does lying have positive results. It often leads to hurt, mistrust and that cycle of more lying.
Why do we do it?
We tell lies to protect ourselves, to get ourselves out of a spot of trouble, telling little white lies that seems to be acceptable. In fact, we’ve grown up thinking that’s okay. There’s a good chance, probably when you’re a kid, one of your parents said something like this. Even if you don’t like your birthday present from Grandma, tell her it’s just what you wanted, so you won’t hurt her feelings. Well, I can relate to that in my home when I was growing up. But if you tell the truth, you won’t have to struggle to remember how to cover the tracks of lying behaviour with more lies. You can relax.
Lies often start like something that might seem very small and insignificant, but it could end up costing you or someone else in a way that you didn’t intend. Can you think of any ways that lying has cost you something? Remember that the truth will likely come out. You might have already experienced this. If you’re not telling the truth, sooner or later something’s going to happen that exposes your lies, and you can never tell when that might happen. The old saying is true. Be sure your sins will find you out. But really, the truth may not be so scary. Sometimes people lie to feel a sense of security or to hide something about themselves that they don’t like or think others won’t accept. It can be hard to take a leap of faith that people are going to accept you just as you are and not as a person that you fabricate.
What The Bible Says
The person you lie to will begin to realise that you’re not truthful and you risk losing their good opinion and their trust. And that leads to missed opportunities.
So I remember that lies are rarely harmless, no matter how small they might be. Remember the old saying, Honesty is the best policy. There’s a reason it’s still so today, lying doesn’t help anyone, including yourself. God doesn’t lie. Many places in the Bible tell us that: Titus 1:2 in the New Testament, speaks of the God who never lies. It’s not possible because it’s not in God’s nature. He is truth. He wants his creation to be marked by truth as well.
When God gave the people the 10 Commandments they were to live by this. In Exodus, truthfulness was included. Exodus 20:16 says “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” I guess that’s an old fashioned way of saying you shall not lie, Proverbs says in Chapter 12, Verse 22. “Lying lips disgust the eternal, but those who act faithfully delight him.”
And the apostle Paul said that lying is wrong In Colossians 3, he said, “Do not lie to each other. Since you’ve put on the new self,” you and I don’t have to tell any lies to gain acceptance or approval from other people. We’ve already got the love and acceptance from God who knows everything about us. He desires truth from the heart as he is the God of truth. We follow him, and there’s nothing but truth in him all the way.
You don’t need to fear what others might say or think about you, of course, our social order depends on truth. Relationships are built on trust and trust is built on truth. If you don’t have the truth you won’t have trust. And if you don’t have trust, you’ll never have true fellowship. God knew what he was doing when he set up the directive. To be honest, he wanted his people to be guided by truth, to reflect himself. Honesty has always been the best policy for God’s people because God is always honest.
Heavenly Father, may there be no more white lying. No more falsehoods. Help me, Lord, to be always honest because this is what you want from all of us, Amen.