Why The Habit Of Lying Is Harmful
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?” Acts 5:3
The practice of dishonesty is the second taboo on God’s list of what He detests (See Proverbs 6:16-19). While God loves the sinner, He certainly dislikes some of his habits. Question: On a scale of 1-10, how honest are you? Would you say you are honest all of the time? Most of the time? Part of the time? Or whenever it suits your purpose?
If the truth were known, says a researcher, a lot of people are lying about telling the truth. Could he possibly be right? Have we become so self-serving that we feel little if any obligation to tell the truth, especially when we are saving someone’s feelings, or more importantly, our own reputation or face?
Ask yourself the following questions: 1. Do you, on occasion, copy software illegally? 2. Do you sometimes not tell all the truth to your husband or wife? 3. Do you ever take home supplies from the office? A few pens, a bit of left-over materials, an occasional tool–even if you intend to bring them back though you know you never will. 4. When you return home from a trip, do you ever find yourself forgetting (on purpose) to declare some overseas purchases when you get to Customs? 5. Do you make personal phone calls at work? 6. Do you occasionally fudge on your taxes or forget to declare income which you are quite certain cannot be traced?
A Gallup survey indicated that 69% of all people admitted to practicing some form of dishonesty. The vast majority of all those questioned admitted to lying, yet all researchers say that when it comes to admitting cheating–whether on your employer or your husband or wife–we all tend to see ourselves as better than we really are.
No wonder Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” Has lying become so common that we excuse it as being part of our humanness? Put another way, if religious convictions produce honesty in men and women, it’s time for a revival of old-fashioned beliefs and practices. When someone is caught in a lie, we tend to excuse it as “misinformation.” God, however, still calls it what it is–a lie.
Three thousand years ago, Solomon cataloged some of the human foibles and failures which God, in particular, doesn’t happen to excuse. The first in this infamous list of wrongdoing is pride. The second is “a lying tongue.” Why does God put this so close to the top of the list of habits which He literally despises? Let me put the question another way: Upon what is trust based in your own family? Honesty, telling the unvarnished truth– the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as you affirm under oath when you go to court–is the very fabric of relationships.
Once you know that someone can look you in the eye and lie to you, you are never certain whether he or she means it when he says, “I love you,” or “You are the only one in my life.”
From God’s perspective, there is no such thing as a white lie. Either you are telling the truth, or you are lying. A man who is faithful to his wife 97% of the time is still an unfaithful husband. Likewise telling the truth most of the time will never satisfy the demands of a loving growing relationship.
A final thought: God never laid down guidelines for living, including the call to honesty, to make you miserable. But, He did it because it’s right.
Resource reading: Acts 5:1-11