The truth is people lie for many reasons. Is it okay to lie?
It can sabotage our self-worth. It can grip us in guilt and shame. Lying can change our personalities. It can suppress the Spirit of God in our lives. Lying can disturb the course of our lives as we try and manage our untruthful tracks.
I heard of a true story about a lady who had many friends at her church. They loved her because of her generosity, charming personality, and hospitality. She was known as The Church Social Butterfly. Eventually, something unfortunately damaged her relationship with most of her friends at the church. Many of them learned through conversations with one another that The Church Social Butterfly was not only charming, but she had been discovered to be a social liar. Her problem was that she would gossip about one friend with another friend. When her friends exchanged information about her, they learned she had concocted lies to make herself needed and beloved.
Her pattern of lying repeated itself enough times that people began to distance themselves from her. One day, she called a close church friend to share her sadness that people were avoiding her. This friend told her that the word on the street is you tell lies to people, and no one wants to have anything to do with you.
Why do people lie?
We live in a world where lying has become a fairly common occurrence. Politics. Business. Medicine. Food Industry. You think of an area in society, and you can track the lies. The most unfortunate areas in our society that experience the hurt of lies are our homes and churches. The reasons for lying can be complicated, and in the mind of the liar, he or she can justify and rationalize their lies. But they are still lies and an offense and sin to a holy God.
Take The Church Social Butterfly. Her church friends ultimately discovered that she had been abandoned by her biological family. She confessed that she learned to lie to make friends as a way of coping with the hurt of abandonment. The root of her lying was complicated to resolve but her bad habit made her life more miserable.
Reader, do you struggle with lying? Do you find it easier to tell people what you think they want to know rather than tell them the truth? If you answer yes to one of these questions, you are in a populous group in our society. People polled about if they lied over the past week stated “yes” to the tune of 90% of the participants.
If you're wondering how often people lie, it's around zero to two lies per day. That's a lot of lies. At age 4, 90% of kids understand the meaning of lying. According to research, about 60% of people 18 and older are incapable of having a conversation without lying once every ten minutes. On average, three lies are told by adults every ten minutes.
Lying can be addictive. It is damaging to our lives in many ways. It can deplete our daily cognition. It can sabotage our self-worth. It can grip us in guilt and shame. Lying can change our personalities. It can suppress the Spirit of God in our lives. Lying can disturb the course of our lives as we try and manage our untruthful tracks.
For a Believer of Jesus Christ, lying should not be viewed as a bad habit, an addiction, a hereditary behavior, or any other excuse people use to patent their lies. Our God can not lie (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2). Not only doesn’t God lie, but He has also established lying as an abomination to Him (Proverbs 6:17; Proverbs 12:22). An abomination is something that is detestable or severely irreverent or disrespectful.
Truth reveals. Lies obscure.
Truth is light. Lies are darkness.
Satan, the devil, is the prime example of what happens when we replace truth with lies. Jesus called him the father of lies, one who hates the truth and stands against it (John 8:44). No true follower of Jesus will desire live a lie. That person is deceiving himself in thinking they belong to Jesus (John 8:44).
Why do people lie?
For all the reasons reported why they lie, the top three reasons were: 1). Fear 2). People-pleasing 3). Lack of discipline – it’s easier to lie than to deal with the truth.
Do Believers of Jesus have the luxury of lying for good reasons?
When we look at the Ten Commandments, the ninth commandment tells us not to lie. Period. Lying is not a luxury that we can chalk up as a bad habit or our weakness. As a matter of speaking, lying is unacceptable for all people whether or not they are a Believer of Jesus Christ.
Are there notable exceptions where moral obligations collide and lies can literally save a life?
Of course – we serve a sovereign God. He gave us two examples in His word. In the land of Egypt, Pharaoh demanded that the Hebrew midwives kill all newborn male babies (Exod. 1:17–21). When asked by Pharaoh why they didn’t obey his command, the midwives told him it was because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife can arrive. God appeared to issue his verdict on their behavior: he “dealt well with the midwives” and “gave them families” (vv. 20–21). The midwives deliberately deceived Pharaoh—and God appears to reward them for it.
We also remember the incident of Rahab the prostitute who tells a lie to protect the Israelite spies (Josh. 2:1–7; cf. Heb. 11:31). The Book of James (James 2:25) appeals to Rahab as an illustration of how good works flow from genuine, saving faith: “And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” Rahab communicated a lie to protect the spies—and is apparently applauded for it.
And note that Joshua sent spies into the land whose purpose was to deceive and undermine the enemy in order to gather information the enemy hopes to conceal. In effect, God had spies working for him in the Old Testament.
But those are notable exceptions. People should never, ever become lax or casual in their treatment of the truth. Remember, the truth sets us free (John 8:32).