The Sin of Lying
Of all the sins that man may commit, lying is perhaps the most destructive. Lies, per se, aren’t all that harmful; they’re just words, but their consequences are destructive. When people base their decisions on lies, they make bad choices which ends up destroying their and other’s lives. Moreover, lies conceal the truth, which may lead to injustice for both the guilty and innocent.
The sin of lying contradicts the very character of God. The Bible teaches that God cannot lie (Titus 1:3, Hebrews 6:18); it is against His very nature to advance that which is false. However, Jesus says that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Hence, to lie is to choose not to be like God and to imitate the character of Satan and Proverbs 6:19 says lying is among the things that God hates. It is no wonder that one of the ten commandments is, Thou shalt not bear false witness (Exodus 20:16).
The Bible acknowledges different categories of lies, but never once teaches that any lie is less significantly damning than another. The little white lie is equally condemning as perjury, though, the consequences may not be entirely the same. John writes in Revelation 21:8 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. John certainly didn’t discriminate on what kind of liars would be lost; he simply said, all liars.
Christians must be people who speak truth. Ephesians 4:25 says, Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. The context of Ephesians four tells us that speaking truth is part of what it means to be a new creation in Christ; it is at the heart of being a Christian. Colossians 3:9 parallels Ephesians; Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.
For the Christian who is striving to follow Jesus’ teaching, it is a simple matter of observing Jesus’ teaching on this subject. In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said, But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. James echoes Jesus comments in James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. The Jewish people had turned oath taking into another way of lying. Such was forbidden by Jesus and by implication, lying as well.
Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth. People don’t always want to hear it because it exposes the darkness in their lives and people love darkness better than light (John 3:19). As Christians, however, we are obliged to tell the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and we speak truth because we do love (1 Corinthians 13:6). Let us do so and be people who love truth regardless the consequences of speaking it and let us never be involved in the sin of lying.