What does the Bible say about Lying?
There is a plague that is grieving the heart of God because it is preventable and can
be stopped. It has spread among all churches and is particularly rampant in society. Even
Gods ministers are not immune and many of them are infected with it.
What is this evil plague? You may be surprised as it appears rather harmless at first
glance. It is now so commonplace that people are deceived into just accepting it as
normal, instead of recognizing and resisting it. This epidemic is the practice of lying
What does the Bible say about lying? A lying tongue is not only something God hates, it
is also something that is an abomination to Him.
Proverbs 6:16-19 says, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven
are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent
blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to
mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among
Examples of Dishonesty
As the moral climate of our society has been deteriorating, lying has become a major
problem. The business world is particularly plagued by this problem--mens dishonesty
with each other, meetings "forgotten", company theft, promises not kept,
contracts broken, etc. Lawyers have increased in numbers over the last decade, mainly
because of irresponsibility and broken contracts among men due to lying. A news
organization recently did a survey here in America and asked people several questions to
determine the percentage of people who lied or were dishonest about things. Some of the
Do you cheat on your Income Tax Return?
Do you compliment people when you really dont mean it?
Do you tell your spouse to tell callers you are not at home when you there?
Do you tell "little white lies" if it will keep you out of trouble?
Do you tell creditors that "the check is in the mail" when you have not yet
Do you exaggerate in repeating things you have heard?
The results of this survey determined that 90% of Americans are not truthful under
certain circumstances. This is understandable when we look at the morals of our society
but what about Christians? Have they fallen into the habit of lying also? Also, what
constitutes a lie according to the Bible? Anything that is not the truth is a lie and
Gods Word the Bible tells us what is truth. The Bible is the standard or measuring
rod we must use in determining truth. Sadly, Christians are also succumbing to this
epidemic of lying. Lying to each other has now become so commonplace, Christians too, have
The Father of Lies
Have you been lied to lately? Was it another Christian that lied to you? A minister
perhaps? Each of us have had our trust in people undermined, or in some cases even
destroyed because of lies. We would all agree that lying is an ugly evil. The Bible
tells us that lying began with the devil and that he is the father of lies.
John 8:43-47 says, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye
cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will
do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no
truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the
father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth
me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth
God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
The Bible is filled with admonitions against being dishonest and lying. One of the Ten
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." Exodus 20:16
Before we point our finger at another for being a liar that we feel God needs to deal
with, let us examine our own lives to see if we are infected with the same disease. What
kind of witness are we to those around us? Are we deceived and have we become liars
ourselves? Let us first give a definition as to what a lie is according to Websters
1.) To make a statement that one knows is false, especially with the intent to deceive.
2.) To give a false impression or action or false statement, especially with the intent to
3.)To make a false statement in order to evade the truth.
4.)The invention of a false story or excuse in order to deceive.
Perhaps for a Christian, a Biblical definition of lying could be summed up in this
Any time our word does not agree with Gods Word.
In Numbers 23:19 the Bible says, "God is not a man, that he should lie;
neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall
he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
When we do not keep our word we are guilty of lying. Over the last year I have lost
track of the number of times Christians have failed to keep their word to me. I am not
angry or resentful or bitter over this, as the Lord has worked those attitudes out of my
life. I have learned to take every offense to Him in prayer and He then removes any
personal ill I might have and He gives me a forgiving and gracious attitude toward others.
However, since I began to notice how many of Gods people were not keeping their
word, I received a prayer burden of intercession for this evil to be removed from
I first began praying about my own life and ask God to expose any areas where I might
be guilty of this sin. I have tried to obey Romans 12:17-21 which says, "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the
sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Most of the time I would just forgive these lying offences and would just pray for them
and try to "live peaceably with all men." However, in prayer, the Lord
spoke to my heart that I must go one step further and "speak the truth in
love" to my brothers and sisters if I truly loved them.
Ephesians 4:15-16 says, "But speaking the truth in
love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the
body unto the edifying of itself in love."
If we, as the body of Christ, are to mature and grow up we must conform to the truth
which is Jesus. The devil is behind every lie and as Christians we are admonished not to
lie to one another.
Colossians 3:9-10 says, "Lie not one to another,
seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which
is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him."
Two Roots of Dishonesty
The two main reasons we lie are usually rooted in either fear or pride. Fear is the
first reason. We are afraid of the consequences if we tell the truth. Yielding to fear
shows a lack of trust in God to take care of the situation. If we yield to God and do it
His way He will usually give us favor with those that we fear. The other reason is pride.
We are prideful and concerned about what men will think of us (desiring mans
approval instead of Gods approval.)
Jesus always kept His Word. God still keeps His Word and is faithful to keep every
promise He makes in the Bible. That is why He is reliable and we can trust Him. We are
called to be like Him. The Bible says that out of a mans mouth proceeds what is in
His heart. If we tell lies or fib then it means that we need a heart cleansing.
Matthew 15:18-20a says, "But those things which
proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of
the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,
blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man..."
We need to ask God to cleanse our hearts and begin reading and studying the Bible so
that His Word resides in our hearts. As we keep His Word and water it with prayer it will
produce good fruit in our lives. Lying is not only speaking an untruth; another form of
lying is not keeping our word to others.
Luke 8:15 says, "But that on the good ground are
they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth
fruit with patience."
Little "White" Lies
Let us look at some specific ways the devil gets us to lie. We will expose some of his
devices. These sorts lies are being practiced by many Christians. Now remember, we are
guilty of lying when we do not keep our word. Even if these sorts of lies seem harmless
and don't appear to really hurt anyone else, they are harmful to our own souls. The more
we practice telling untruths of any kind, the duller our concience becomes.
1.) "I will call you back tomorrow." (This excuse is often used with a
deliberate intent to decieve. The person does not call back at the appointed time and will
call back at a much later date with excuses of why they were unable to call which usually
goes something like: "I just was so busy, I meant to call , but did not get around
to it." We all have been guilty of this, but we need to realize when we say we
will do something we need to keep our word. We do understand there are legitimate reasons
that make it impossible at times to keep our word. This is not the case we are referring
to here. It would be better to not make this promise or to say, "I will try
to call you back tomorrow.")
2.) "I will be happy to do that for you." (Whatever promise was made,
it was not kept and their word about the matter causes them not to be trusted. The Holy
Spirit is trying to purge this lack from His people and is using a group of men known as "Promise
Keepers" to help restore trustworthiness back in the heads of families by
stressing that they need to keep their promises.)
We could list numerous examples but these two cover a lot of territory; any time we say
the words "I will" we need to be responsible to do it. We all, on
occasion, fail to do the things we have good intentions of doing or we are hindered in
some way and cant do them. However, if we are unable to keep an appointment we
should be thoughtful enough to call and cancel, or tell of our delayed arrival. We are
living in an age when there are so many uncaring attitudes expressed. As Christians, we
can be good witnesses by being different.
One of the biggest faults of many Christians, and our society as well, is that we tend
to over-commit and then we are unable to keep our word. It is disheartening to see this
shift prevalent in businesses. They commit to the jobs, then, are not able to produce them
on time and thus the standard for business practices is shifting to not expecting them on
time. Business people must now factor in lengthy time delays just to compensate for
peoples lack of business ethics.
People that tend to over commit sometimes have a pride problem and are people pleasers.
They want people to like them so they offer to do things for them, and because they are
unable to keep their promises to all they end up not being able to keep their word; thus
they are dishonest. In business it is usually greed that tends to cause them to over
commit. They want more business and more money, even when they must work from a backlog
that was promised timely.
As Christians we need to ask the Lord to forgive us if we are guilty of lying or
deceit. It is a very serious matter with God when we lie. (We can read of the incident of
Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5 in the Bible. They both fell dead when they
lied to the Holy Spirit.)
The Bible also lists this sin of lying as one that can lead us to hell along with some
other grievous ones.Revelation 21:7-8 says, "He that
overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But
the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and
sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
We can be overcomers through the power of the Holy Spirit as we seek to be like Jesus.
We not only do not want to lie, but we also want to keep our word so that people know we
are honest and trustworthy. As Christians, we want to represent our Father well in this
life and be honest and free from fabrication and fibbing.
This article was taken from the Overcoming
Life Digest (Jan./Feb. 1998 Issue); click here to view Digest