Jump Start # 3283
Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”
Sin comes in many forms. Sin can be an action or behavior, such as drunkenness. Sin can be an attitude, such as hatred. Sin can be mental, such as lust. The outside of a person can look good, while the inside is a real mess. This is how Jesus pictured some of the Pharisees. They were like a cup that was washed on the outside, but the inside was unclean. They were like a white tombstone but on the inside they were rotten.
Sin comes with consequences. Some will see our sin. Some may never know our sin. I was talking with someone the other day about our first sin. We remember a lot of firsts. The first kiss. The first car. The first homerun. The first sermon. But what about the first sin? I have no statistical proof. I’ve seen no surveys on this. But, simply knowing people and knowing myself, I wonder if our first sin was telling a lie. And, likely, we told it to the people who loved us the most, our parents.
Telling a lie is so easy. And, once one has gotten good at it, it’s the default mode when one looks for an excuse, an alibi, a coverup or simply because they don’t want to face the truth. I wish I could say that I have never lied before, but that would be a lie. I try very hard these days to be honest and truthful, even if it gets me in trouble and even if it hurts.
Here are some truths about lying:
First, lying is against the nature of God. God is holy. In God, there is no darkness. Seeking the righteous of God, as Jesus tells us to in the great sermon, will move us to being honest. The more we are around the world, the more we are lied to and the more easily it is for us to lie. God keeps His word. God is faithful. God remembers His promises.
Second, lying is very addictive. Once one starts down that path, it’s easier and easier to lie all the time. According to a study conducted at Notre Dame, the average person lies 1.65 times a day. I’m not sure what the .65 means? Half lies? Partial lies? Little white lies? One lie a day doesn’t seem so bad. However in a given week that average person will tell 11 lies. In a year that comes to 602 lies. And in twenty-five years, that comes to 15,000 lies. Now, that really looks bad. That’s a lot of lying. And, some lie more than one time a day. It is so easy to tell a lie.
Third, lying is progressive. One must have a good memory when he tells lies. Sooner or later what he said will come back and haunt him. A person tells one lie to escape trouble. Then he must tell lie number two to cover lie number one. Then lie number three to cover lie number two, which covers lie number one. And, before long a person starts believing his lies and he doesn’t know what the truth is.
It seems to me that one of the real dangers of lies is that we begin to believe them ourselves. History is rewritten in our favor. This quickly moves into deceiving ourselves. Truth and lying between so mixed up in our minds that we are not sure what is true and what is a lie.
Fourth, lying crushes our credibility with others and ruins our soul with God. Lying isn’t ok. When one is known to be a liar, it is hard for people to trust him. But God knows. God knows how we are. There are certain professions that have a bad reputation because of lying. People are skeptical. People do not want to believe. People do not trust. That’s what lying will do. In a marriage, where our relationship is built upon trust, lying knocks the legs out of that foundation. In our fellowship, where honesty and trust are the fundamental values, lying destroys it. And, in our walk with God, words such as “do not be deceived,” reminds us that our dishonesty can ruin our soul.
The average person tells 15,000 lies in twenty-five years. It is such an easy trap to fall into. And, one area that we so innocently fall in are the hymns we sing. Lying in church— who would have thought! We sing, “Oh, how I love Jesus,” but we treat the Lord more like a casual friend. “Bless be the tie that binds our hearts,” yet we avoid certain people after services because we don’t like them. Are we singing the truth? Are we doing what we are singing?
Or, the person that sits through the sermon with his eyes closed and then boasts on the way out, “You did a good job today, preacher. I liked that sermon.” One of these days, I just might ask someone like that, which point was better the fourth or the final point? When he says “the fourth, for sure,” I’ll smile and tell him that there were only three points!
Pure lips come from an honest heart. Being true is hard in a false world. We see on the news, that even under oath, some lie. We must be different. We must be known for our word. Let your yes be yes and your no be no, said our Lord. Our words are a reflection of our character.
Speak the truth, is what our verse today says. That’s what we must do!