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Does Everyone Lie?

An article on today’s MSN homepage is titled, “Moral Dilemma: Liar, Liar,” by Amy Reiter.  This writer speaks about how prevalent dishonesty and lies are found in today’s world.  After giving a number of different examples of lying in various contexts, Reiter offers these statistics:

·         74% of readers say the odd fib at work is inevitable.

·         47% say they lie one to three times on any given day.

·         71% have stretched the truth when calling in sick.

Occasionally, a lie that someone tells is discovered with much shame.  The author tells of a woman named Cat who pretended to be 35 years of age on the job.  Later, the office people discovered that she was actually 50 and this resulted in a lot of embarrassment.  One website says, “Human-resources managers assume that everyone embellishes, exaggerates, puffs up, and basically lies to some extent on their resume.”  Is it true that everyone lies on resumes and in other contexts?  What about you and me?

Most of us remember the lies of history.  Hitler lied about his plans for European domination.  President Nixon lied about Watergate.  Clinton lied about his immoral Whitehouse liaison.  Lies are all around us—whether on the job, in politics, in education, in entertainment, and even in religious circles.  Probably preachers and pastors can be the most damaging of liars.  Paul the apostle writes of “the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Tim. 4:2).  Religious liars are found on television and on the radio.  They write books and hold places of prominence.

It may or may not be true that 47% of people lie one to three times a day, but God still says that dishonesty is wrong.  Since God is true (1 Thess. 1:9; John 5:20; Rom. 3:4; John 3:33), we know that He speaks truth.  In fact, God’s words are “truth” (John 17:17).  We also know that Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of truth” (John 15:26).  In contrast, Jesus said that Satan “does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Because God is true and Satan is the originator of lies, we can better understand why we are to be truthful people.  We are to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).  Paul admonishes, “Laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor” (v. 25).  He goes on to say, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:9-10).  We are new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17)—and because we are to be like the truthful Savior and our truthful God, we are to be truthful.  We are to renounce all lying for this is not to be part of the new nature we have been given by the Spirit of truth.

Although dishonesty may be found in most people and the world seems to be filled with lying, let us, as followers of Christ, be truthful men and women.  Let people know that we will say the truth and live the truth in a dishonest world!

Richard Hollerman