Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nothing But The Truth

Remember the old Disney cartoon “Pinocchio”?  This was about a puppet brought to life by a fairy that tells him he can become a real boy if he proves himself “brave, truthful, and unselfish.”  Pinocchio then faced a variety of temptations.  Whenever he didn’t tell the truth, his nose would grow.  In real life, “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.”(Proverbs 12:19)

One time I witnessed to a young man who professed to be a Christian but admitted to telling a few lies.  Yet he didn’t think anything was wrong with that as long as it helped somebody else.  That reminded me of a well-known religious person who also justified lying.  Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church once said, “If you tell a lie to make a person better, then that is not a sin.”  He further added, “Even God tells lies very often; you can see this throughout history.”  Apparently Rev. Moon does not know the God of the Bible very well…

“God is not a man, that He should lie…” - Numbers 23:19

”And he [The Lord]who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!” - 1 Samuel 15:29 (NLT)

“In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” - Titus 1:2

 “…it is impossible for God to lie.” - Hebrews 6:18

Lying is a serious sin in the eyes of the Lord.  Proverbs 12:22 calls lying lips “an abomination.”  In Acts chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira suddenly died after not telling the truth about how much of their money they gave in an offering.  Revelation 21:8 warns,“all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.”  In other words, “You lie…you fry!”

Nevertheless, many worldly people condone lying.  In a recent Yahoo poll, 59% of its respondents believe lying is justified if it keeps another from harm.  I remember as a kid watching an episode of “The Electric Company” in which one of the actors declared, “Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to tell a little white lie.”  But “white lies” are still lies.

Lying is certainly a severe offense to authorities.  If a judge caught you lying on the witness stand, you would be punished.  If you got caught cheating on your taxes, you would face fines and possibly prison time.  Rev. Moon once spent time behind bars for filing false federal income tax returns.

One might question why the prostitute Rahab was praised for hiding the Israelite spies (Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25) and lying to her authorities in Jericho.  Some theologians teach that Rahab followed a higher law to save a life.  It would be comparable to a believer living in Nazi Germany and was confronted by the Gestapo about hiding Jews in their house.  But instead of lying, one could respond by asking, “What are Jews?”

When sinners are confronted about ungodly behaviors such as lying, some try to dodge the issue by saying, “God is love.”  That is true…but He hates certain things including a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17).  To believe a lie, one must reject the truth.  As Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

We should “hate and abhor lying” (Psalm 119:163) because that is part of the unregenerated man’s sinful nature.  Colossians 3:9 commands, “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.”  One medical study done at Notre Dame determined that people who habitually tell the truth experience better mental and physical health. 

So the next time you are tempted to lie, don’t do it.  It’s best to always tell the truth and nothing but the help us God.

“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” - Ephesians 4:25

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