Little Ethan had a habit of “stretching the truth.”
One day, while walking home from school, he saw a large black dog run across the street right in front of him. He rushed home as fast as he could and hollered, “Mom! You’re never going to believe what I just saw!”
“What did you see Ethan?” His mother cautiously asked.
“While I was walking home a huge black bear jumped out of the bushes and tried to eat me! But I was too fast for him and ran home as fast as I could!”
By this time his mother was somewhat distraught and began to worry about Ethan’s “truth-stretching”.
When his father returned home the next day from a business trip, Ethan excitedly ran to his father and told him about his adventurous encounter on the way home from school.
His father gave Ethan a stern look and demanded, “Go to your room and think about how God looks at this story.”
Within just a few minutes Ethan came bouncing out of his room and into the kitchen.
“Well son?” his dad asked, “What do you think God thinks about your story?”
“Dad!” Ethan exclaimed. “I asked God. And He told me that when He first saw that dog, He thought it was a bear too!
Let’s call “stretching the truth” what it really is. Lying.
Lying is more than a phase that kids go through; it’s a problem in every sector of society. From the White House to the Court House, to your house, no one exempt from the temptation to tell a lie. Unfortunately, those who enter the church house are not are immune to lying either.
The Bible teaches that lying is a sin.
That’s why the apostle Paul, as he speaks about putting off the old man of sin which is governed by deceitful desires and putting on the new man created in the righteousness of Christ, clearly condemns lying.
“Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25).
Think of how our culture minimizes lying by using euphemisms. One source claims there are over 200 synonyms for lying. Here are a few.
Telling a tall tale. Misrepresenting facts. Pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. Inventing facts. Being economical with the truth. Equivocating. Misstating. Concocting. Fabricating. Misleading someone. Exaggerating. Being duplicitous. Not being transparent.
My favorite euphemism is often used in the political arena when one person accuses another of “being disingenuous.”
Dishonesty destroys. It breaks trust. Arouses suspicion. Creates resentment. Gives birth to hostility. Damages loving relationships. And impedes effective communication.
A failure to speak the truth is harmful in every walk of life. In your job, lying will hurt your relationship with your boss, your fellow employees, and your clients. In fact, lying may get your fired.
Honest communication is the foundation of a good relationship with your husband. Wife. Children. Or parents. Lying is a communication killer. Lying is often symptomatic of other problems in the relationship. And a cover-up for other sins.
Even though lying seems to be tolerated and even excused in society, lying is treated seriously when testifying under oath. It’s called perjury. Lying to the United States Congress is a federal crime and can result in a substantial fine as well as prison time.
Lying takes various forms and always involves deception and the intent to mislead. It may be a failure to report all the facts. The French author Andre Maurois, referred to it as “the menace of things unsaid.” Lying is at the core of broken promises. Exaggeration. And plagiarism.
The text gives an important reason for “putting away lying.” Because of who we are. We belong to Christ. Have been redeemed. And enjoy a spiritual bond together in the body of Christ.
The antidote to lying is simple. Just. Speak. The. Truth.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman