God says lying, no matter the circumstance, is wrong
By Clay Perkins
Saturday, September 22, 2018
“Help, Lord … everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception. ... O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.” — Psalm 12:1-8 (The Bible, New International Version)
Lying does not matter. Right? Research shows that everyone tells a little lie every now and then. In fact, 60 percent of adults cannot have a 10-minute conversation without lying at least once.
Sometimes a lie even helps. Right? Listen to a story. An office vending machine was constantly keeping everyone’s money. And even worse, often it was giving the wrong item selected. After multiple days of calling for service, the company had yet to send a repair person to fix the machine. So, in frustration, the receptionist responsible for the machine decided to take a new approach. She called the company responsible for the machine and told them, “Well now not only is the machine still not working right, it gives two items for every selection and half the money back.” The vending machine company had someone out within the hour. So, in this story lying helped, right?
Lying is the most acceptable sin. Often it is considered simply stretching the truth for good outcomes, as shown in the story above. Another example is having a poker face as to not give away the truth that could do harm. Or was it just a little lie? Or it was inappropriate flattery? But wait a second: is not a lie — no matter what we call it — still a lie?
If you take the time to read Psalm 12, you find David is dealing with the consequences of those who lie. The deception of those in power over the weak is just too much for a righteous leader to be silent. And most who lie are honored as noble, when, in fact, they are vile. For the first time in the book of Psalms, God speaks. God cannot tolerate lies. So why is lying so bad?
When the tongue, while a very small part of the body, is used for lies and dishonesty it brings destruction that can be large (James 3:5-10). In Christ we are called to truth, not lies, in our new lifestyle (Ephesians 4:22-25). It is no wonder that Satan himself is identified as the origin of lying (John 8:44, 1 John 3:10).
A lie is something said with the intent to deceive. All that is not of the truth is counterfeit. Lots of examples can help us understand the deep ripple effect of lying. A false, hypocritical life is a lie (1 John 1:6). Denying Jesus is the Christ is a lie (1 John 2:22). Not keeping Christ’s commands is a lie (1 John 2:4). Hatred of a brother is a lie (1 John 4:20).
I know we often try to lie for various reasons, some of them noble, we might think: To deceive. To avoid embarrassment. To appear better than we are. To avoid hurt feelings. To gain advantage.
But stop and remember God’s attitude toward lying. He hates it (Proverbs 6:16-17, 12:22). He forbids it (Exodus 20:16, Leviticus 19:11). He destroys liars (Psalm 5:6, Revelation 21:8).
Let’s just admit it. Even though we thought we could get away with a lie many times, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar” (Lincoln). So we all might as well just stick to the truth. Spoken, of course, in love (Ephesians 4:15).
D. Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University.