“ … of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me…” -Isaiah 57:11
Yesterday, I re-posted the first in a series of articles I wrote years ago on THE NARROW WAY. I have decided to avail myself of the discussion line already opened not to repost the rest of that series but to spend the rest of this month exploring what I believe are some of the issues we must confront if we are to walk on that narrow way that Jesus described as leading to life and the first of these is telling lies.
Proverbs 19:9b (NKJV) states “And he who tells lies will perish.” The other side of this coin is that he who speaks the truth will be preserved – a position Jesus affirmed in John 8:32 when He said that the truth will set us free.
In Isaiah 57:11, God asked Israel whom (or what) they feared so much that they lied. In this, He highlights one of the strongest reasons why we sometimes tell lies – fear; of being found out as not being who we claim to be, of failure, of rejection, of mockery and scorn, of lack, etcetera.
But before we look deeper at how fear can become a basis for telling lies, it is important that we know God’s views on lies and the liar so that we understand why we must never become complacent about our commitment to speak the truth.
On lying and the liar, the Bible states:-
From these we see that a lying tongue is an abomination to God and that one who tells lies has no place of eternal dwellings with Him.
With these one would think that every believer will intentionally war and continually resist the temptation to lie. Rather, it would seem that many of us handle our lying with casualness and have embraced the perception that it is actually impossible to live without telling lies.
Expectedly though, and as those who believe that God does not change, our opinions on lying and its consequences do not in any way remove or impact God’s declared judgements on lying and the liar.
The question though is - why do we lie?
In Isaiah 57:11 God identifies fear as a basis for lying. See Genesis 12:11-13 and in Genesis 26:7 the Bible states of Isaac:
“And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon…”
I believe that there are genuine circumstances where speaking the truth might endanger life or put at risk sensitive areas of our lives. The difficult question though is - will our reasons for lying in any way exculpate us from the consequences of it? No. We must never seek to justify our lies to the Lord or be bold in the face of them. Rather, with humility, we must plead our case before God in times when telling the truth will put at risk life or sensitive and weighty areas of our lives.
And for the lies we told in the past, please let us take a moment to confess them to the Lord now and ask for His forgiveness if we haven’t done so already. And where possible, let us make restitution.
But beyond the lies of the past is the place of grace we must abide in to be able to speak the truth henceforth, choosing to trust the Lord to protect and prosper us even with the truth revealed as He did for Abraham in Genesis 12.
We must also confront and resist the tendency to lie even when there is nothing to fear. Many of us have been tempted to lie:
There are two suggestions I would like to make that allows us to avoid lying:
In all, we must cry to the Holy Spirit for the grace to know, speak and live the truth. Making a habit of something God describes as abominable to Him does not sound like a wise choice for those who want to know, love and abide in Him. Chronic lying must not be ignored or handled lightly. Why? Because there is a spirit behind lying (John 8:44) and when a believer discovers that telling lies has become a habit, it is a visible sign of a demonic stronghold.
Saying that it is unrealistic to expect us to live without telling lies is wrong of itself because it denies the ability of the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to live and speak the truth at all times.
May the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, give to us all the power, not only to speak the truth but to live the truth that truly sets us free.
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