“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.” (Lev. 19:11)
Nestled within commands to not steal or bear false witness is a three-word prohibition. It is stated in a matter of fact manner and simply – do not lie. There is no leeway provided for those so-called little white lies or an option for stretching the truth from time to time if needed. God states unequivocally that we are not to lie.
I address this issue because recently I have been the recipient of an individual stretching the truth (a.k.a. lying) in a matter that involved my actions, or in the mind of this person, my supposed inaction. Thankfully, the full truth is widely known, and the falsehood that is attempting to be spread will gain no traction. Even still, it is a stark, and personal reminder of the impact lying has on relationships, in this case, a working relationship.
As believers, we are to have the life goal of being more and more like Jesus. After all, we do sing about such a pursuit at church, and we at least make this claim when around other believers. When the rubber hits the road, and the opportunity to stretch the truth (those little white lies) come calling, we tend to give in to that temptation, thinking it has no long term impact. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Speaking the truth at all times is necessary because the truth is the only option in any situation. Now mind you there are certainly ways in which we can share the truth so as not to hurt someone. A situation that comes to mind is when your spouse asks whether they look good in a certain outfit. All you husbands out there have been asked this question untold times. You know your wife wants an honest answer, but you also know saying, “Heck no honey. You look horrible” is probably not the best response. The truth can be told in a loving, positive manner. Truth can be balanced with building one another up.
With that said, there is never allowance provided in Scripture for lying. Some attempt to look at the story of Rahab, the story of the Hebrew midwives, or other instances where lying took place as evidence that lying can be conducted as long as the end justifies the means. This is quite frankly theologically incorrect and gives credence to an activity God repeatedly states as being an abomination to Him (Prov. 6:16-19; 19:9; 12:22; Rev 21:8).
Telling lies to include those aforementioned little white lies which do nothing but destroy relationships both with our fellow man and with God. God makes it quite clear in Revelation 21:8 the eternal lot of those who engage in a lifestyle of lying when He states, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Notice the activities lying is include with? Murders, sexual immorality, sorcery, idolatry. Lying; then, is never a little white lie in the eyes of God.
Always tell the truth. It really is that simple. If you are tempted to lie, it may be best not to say anything at all lest you fall into the trap of stretching the truth to fit what ultimately are carnal desires. Lying is a character trait of the enemy. Satan, after all, is the father of lies, and that fatherhood is evident in the events of the Garden of Eden. Let us be people who pursue truth and who speak the truth at all times. There is no other alternative for the people of God but to eschew lies.
Lying destroys. Truth builds up. What will you choose? I trust it is the truth.