I am much too trusting of people. Yet again, it is proven to me that someone will lie to me over an extended period of time without batting an eyelash, and I will be clueless. I extend the benefit of the doubt, ignoring the questions that circle in my head. I expect trickery from the car salesman. I assume fraud will come from a thief or a manipulator. From someone who wears the name of Christ, lying shocks me every time.
I know ‘Christian’ doesn’t mean perfect. I posted something to that effect on my Facebook wall this week. We are all very flawed. And we means me. I make mistakes, I say things I shouldn’t, I hurt people. But, I don’t string them along. I don’t intentionally misrepresent myself to them. I don’t take advantage of their good nature or their kindness, especially not for my own benefit. To wear the name of Christ, to proudly make claim to the redemption He provides and still treat another of His family with such contempt–I can only imagine the heartache it creates in Heaven. And it makes me feel like I have a target on my back.
I know how God feels about liars.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:19
“There are six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:…Haughty eyes, a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood,…A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16, 17, 19
“What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.” Proverbs 19:22
I know the blood of Christ covers the sin of lying if I live in a repentant state, if I ‘walk in the Light,’ 1 John 1:7-9. I know the one who lied to me has the opportunity to make things right with God, and I am most thankful. Not one of us deserves His mercy or His grace, but He lovingly and in hopeful anticipation makes them available to us. I pray all offenders take advantage of His great gifts.
I wonder, though, do we consider the damage we do to the body of Christ when we engage in deception of any kind? Once discovered, my lies wound, if not destroy, my credibility. Why would anyone believe my words or actions without questioning their veracity? Even the little ‘white lies’ I utter in order to protect someone else or myself are injurious to my relationships. Any flavor of deception is inherently disrespectful. Withholding pertinent information, reframing the truth, presenting partial truths as if they are complete, or any false pretense, whether intended or not, expresses an attitude of condescension–I am better / smarter / wiser / more deserving than you, and I will decide what information I let you have. Lying of any kind comes from evil in my heart, and it should set off a million alarms in my spirit.
“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Matthew 15:18, 19
I am certain I will be lied to again in very hurtful contexts. I’m not happy about that, but when dealing with humans, even Christians, lying is part of the package. I could let it create bitterness in my heart. I could become closed off and reluctant to let anyone into my circle of acquaintances. Believe me, the temptation to walk that road is great. However, doing so would impair my ability to continue the work in the Kingdom which God wants me to do. Doing so would thwart my efforts to be honest and transparent in a world that needs more honesty and more transparency. Doing so would make me less like my loving, generous, straightforward Father who calls me to be like Him. Doing so hands Satan a victory.
For my local church family and my earthly family, the offender is no one you know. I ask for your prayers that I find the ability to forgive and move forward.
“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.” Micah 7:7, 8
All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.