It would be a very rare person who could honestly say he or she has never lied. My sense is that anyone who says she or he has never lied would probably be lying. You’ve lied, haven’t you? I know I have.
How serious is lying? Most readers probably know that the ninth of God’s top 10 commandments in Exodus 20:16 is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (KJV). That wording seems to limit the context of a lie, but I don’t think that’s the intent. In the New Testament in Ephesians 4:25 the Apostle Paul instructs, “So stop telling lies” (NLT) and in Colossians 3:9, “Don’t lie to each other” (NLT).
Not to be judgmental, I’m guessing all of us lied to our parents on occasion; and I’m also fairly confident our parents lied to us at times. And chances are those of us who are parents did the same. I’m not accusing everyone, but think of the lies that have been told to teachers, police officers, friends, employers, spouses, and on and on. As unsettling as it may seem, we lie sometimes because we want to be kind and nice – are you always completely honest when someone asks how you like what they are wearing?
Some may try to lie to God himself, but that doesn’t work.
What got me to thinking about this whole idea of lying was something I read in the book of Psalms last night I had never read before. In Psalm 119:29a (in the New Living Translation) the writer asks God, “Keep me from lying to myself.”
That got my attention, and after some thought I began to wonder if that was a petition I too should present to God. Do I lie to myself and do I need God’s help to keep me from lying to myself? My answer – yes.
I think we lie to ourselves without even realizing it. And that’s why reading Psalm 119:29a in the New Living Translation got my attention. We often lie to ourselves when we make excuses for things we shouldn’t have done or said and when we don’t say or do things we should have said or done.
Sometimes we are like children protesting “it wasn’t my fault,” “he/she started it,” “she/he had it coming,” “I didn’t mean it,” “it was an accident,” and many more. We lie to ourselves to feel better about those times when in retrospect we wish we could have a do over.
Lying, of course, is something we are not to do as children of God and followers of Jesus. I do believe there are rare occasions when lying is probably the right thing to do, but I don’t remember a time when it was right for me to do so. Most of us know these things.
What I want to ask you is, do you lie to yourself? If you do, you may want to join the Psalm writer and me in asking God, “Keep me from lying to myself.”
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photo credit: Traveller_40 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/19893353@N00/6888161433″>Pinocchio green hat – 365 / 047</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>