the lying game

June 11, 2016

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When did we become of nation of liars, I mean come on, does anybody keep score anymore?

First Mr. Ali, greatest boxer in the world, maybe yes maybe no, but his eulogy was one big packaged lie; he was a bigot, a racist, cruel, nasty, foul mouth, woman mistreating,, poor sport, poor example of a sportsman. And the eulogy made him out to literally be a boxing god, revered by all.

Then there’s Mr. Obama, if his lips are moving he’s lying, I’ll give him this, he can do it with a perfectly straight face.

And then Hillary, holy cow, the queen of liars, what funny (sad but funny) is you can show her a video of herself lying and she says “it’s not what I meant” guess she learned from the master of lies, not satan but her husband.

One of the greatest moral issues that we all struggle with is that of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The book, The Day that America Told the Truth, states (p. 45) that 91 percent of us lie regularly (cited by Alistair Begg, “Cedarville Torch, Fall, 1994, p. 15). “Of the people interviewed, 92 percent said the main reason for their lying was to save face, and 98 percent said the reason they told lies was so as not to offend people” (ibid.).

Another survey of 20,000 middle- and high-schoolers indicated that 92 percent admitted to lying to their parents in the previous year, and 73 percent said that they told lies weekly. Despite these admissions, 91 percent of all respondents said they were “satisfied with my own ethics and character” (Reader’s Digest [Nov., 1999], pp. 81-82). Their consciences were insensitive to their sin!

Lest you think, “Well, these surveys were probably taken among pagans,” pollster George Gallup indicts us when he says, “church attendance makes little difference in people’s ethical views and behavior with respect to lying, cheating, pilferage, and not reporting theft” (cited by Vernon Grounds, “Focal Point” [Summer, 1995], p. 8).

We bend the truth in many ways. There is the half-truth. You sort of tell the truth, but not the whole truth. You tell your employer, “I wasn’t feeling well,” which was sort of true. But, in reality, you were not so ill as to miss work. You just wanted to do something else. Or, there is the white lie, a supposedly “innocent” lie that doesn’t hurt anyone. “Yes, your new hairdo is beautiful!” “Thank you, I just love fruitcake!”

There are the lies that cover for someone or for ourselves: The boss is in the next room, but you say, “He’s not here right now to take your call.” Often, the rationalization for cover-up lies is that the truth would hurt too many people. This was the excuse behind the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon administration. It would “hurt the country” if the truth were known!

Or, lies often go undercover as exaggeration. You stretch the story a bit to make yourself look better or to evoke sympathy. One of the easiest lies to fall into is the silent lie. This is where someone assumes something about you, which you know to be untrue. But, their mistaken view makes you look good, so you just let it go by and don’t say anything to correct it. In a similar way, we use evasive lies. We change the subject or don’t directly answer the question.

We also bend the truth by cheating on our income taxes, always with the justification that the government wastes so much money or that the tax system is unfair to the little guy (that’s me!). We cheat on tests with the excuse, “everyone else does it.” Or, we pilfer from our employer with the rationalization that they don’t pay me enough. Or, if the clerk at the store makes a mistake to our advantage, we don’t say anything to make it right. We figure, “They overcharge for everything, anyway!”

The Bible is brutally honest in exposing the failures of some of the great men and women of faith when it comes to lying. Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Aaron, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Rachel, and David all lied, along with Peter in the New Testament. If these saints struggled with being truthful, then none of us is exempt! So we all need to take Paul’s exhortation to heart (Eph. 4:25): “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”

“Therefore” takes us back to the preceding context. Paul has told us generally how we are to be different from our former life of corruption “in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” Since God has changed us through the gospel, we are to live in light of the truth by putting off the old life, being renewed in the spirit of our minds, and putting on the new life (4:22-24). But, it’s easy to hear that and think, “Amen, preach, it Brother Paul!” But we leave it out there in the realm of generalities and don’t apply it specifically.

So beginning in 4:25 (and going through 6:9), Paul gets specific. He goes from preaching to meddling! He names a bunch of specific sins from our old life that we are to put off and godly behaviors that we are to put on. While there are some exceptions, his usual method is to state the sinful behavior that we are to put off, the godly behavior that we are to put on, and the motive or reason for the positive behavior. In 4:25 he is saying,

We who have experienced the new birth must lay aside falsehood and speak the truth, because we are members of one another.

To define our terms, truth is an accurate representation of the facts. Especially, truth is conformity to God’s standards as revealed in His Word (John 17:17). God is the truth and He always speaks the truth. Falsehood or lying is any deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.

Also, keep in mind the directive of Ephesians 4:15, that we must speak the truth in love. We must be kind and gracious when we speak the truth. We need to phrase the truth in a way that is least offensive and most sensitive to the other person’s feelings. We need to apply the golden rule: how would I want someone else to tell me this truth? I must speak it in the same manner.

Also, being truthful does not mean that we need to reveal everything we know about a matter. God does not do that with us. If you need to keep a confidence or if you think that making the truth known would be damaging, you may simply reply, “I’m not free to talk about that matter.” Being truthful does not require sharing your thoughts on everything. If being silent would imply agreement when you disagree, you may need to clarify things. But, sometimes wisdom requires keeping your thoughts to yourself (Prov. 10:19).

Well that’ my rant for the day, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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