When is it okay to lie? Never, to keep from getting into trouble, sometimes, for the fun of it or as a normal day-to-day routine? Few people never lie and others lie to some degree. Let's categorize these on a five-point scale from 0 to 4. Where does your lying aptitude lie? (These categories correspond from saint to psychopath).
What is lying? That's an easy one isn't it. Lying is saying something that is not true. However, does it really stop there? Lying is also withholding truth, misleading, and telling partial truths. Lying can also be presenting falsehoods which you believe are truthful, but are really not. An example of this is repeating commonly accepted lies. The biggest lie in this category is "Life came into existence by evolution." That lie is taught in schools as fact, your grades depend on answering that way, others ostracize you if you believe differently and any scientist with an opposing view remains unpublished in scientific journals. You believe the lie because most other credible people believe it. However, like "a rose by any other name is still a rose" it would seem that "a lie by any other name is still a lie".
Lies are meant to deceive. There are motives for lying. Mentioned earlier are avoidance of trouble and for the fun of it. Many embellish their stories in order that they're perceived as more important, richer, more athletic, more successful, more popular and the like than what they truly are. Some people tell lies to see the listener become confused. Others tell lies to get out of working or taking responsibilities. Criminals tell lies to avoid penalties, Sinners tell lies to appear more saintly!
John 8:44 (To those who denied him) "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."
Lies oppose truth. God is truth. What God says is 100% in conformance with reality. He has no reason to deceive. Truth is based on love. God tells truth because he loves you. He cries for you when you accept falsehoods. In contrast to the love of God is the envy of Satan. The devil's job description is to do one thing: undermine God. He does it well and gets an "A+" for job performance. However, he gets an "F" in conduct! He's has no truth in him. When his lips are moving he's lying. It's impossible for the devil to reveal truth. He's a liar and is the "father of lies"! What's more, liars are sons of Satan. If you're a liar and oppose Christ you've been adopted into the family of doom and the devil is your father!
Lying is severe! There aren't degrees of sin, but this one makes the "Divine Leaderman's Top 10 List"! Commandment No. 9 (of 10) says " "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." False witness is by definition lying! Since part 2 of "The Greatest Commandment" is to love your neighbor, then lying to a person is a failure to love! We're not to lie to anyone, let alone those we love most!
Confession time! I've lied. So have you. Those who proclaim Christ too can lie too:
1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
Are you a Christian? "Yes".
Have you broken one of the Ten Commandments? "Yes"; "No" works too!
Then you're a liar! Why? Because if you've broken one commandment you're guilty of breaking them all! What's more. If you answer "No" you lie not only by deception, but by falsehood, because "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God"!
Deception is a method of lying. How do we deceive? I know one person who smoked. His wife believed that he had quit. He smoked at work and after a day of tar and nicotine, he would stop at a gas station on his way home to brush his teeth, wash, put on aftershave and change shirts. He let his wife assume that he was no longer a smoker. He didn't actually tell her that he wasn't smoking, but he led her to believe he was a non-smoker. That is the method of operation for those who use deception to save their own skins from ridicule or humiliation! Who is the author of deception?
Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:"
Satan tricks you by deception! Just as Eve was deceived in the Garden of Eden by slight of wording, mankind is still deceived by the same devilish method! What's more the deceived cannot discern the clever tricks of Satan unarmed. It takes the power and word of God to combat evil. Satan relishes in glee when you try it on your own because you're defeated before you start!
"The spin stops here!" That's what Bill O'Reilly says about The Factor as it begins each night. Guess what? Bill cannot stop the spin without God and God isn't a "Fox Commentator"! We get some truth from Bill and his guests, Bill filters out what he perceives as deception, but we may just be getting partial truths. Where does "spin stop"? It stops when Christians make a firm commitment to live Christlike! Right now, start a new endeavor. Whenever you are about to lie, deceive, mislead, cover-up, fool, or disguise falsehoods for the purpose of misleading others; just stop in mid-sentence, mentally ask for God's forgiveness and then speak only truth!
How about truth which hurts? A man was told by a psychologist that he needed open communication with his wife. The man said "Doctor, here's what I would tell her!" and then proceeded to give examples of hurtful truths. Truth is not meant to destroy, but for obedience. I say this often, but let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no"! If your child is making poor grades, you don't have to call him stupid. That's may be the truth, but it's hurtful truth! Don't tell your wife that she's getting old. We all are and that's truth, but it's denigrating! Practice truth which edifies and damaging truths are negated. If you're telling your wife how attractive she is to you, she feels good, and hopefully you're being truthful! If not, then quit comparing her to a 20 year-old model and she will become more attractive!
Some truth does still hurt! If you're fat and the doctor tells you that you're overweight, he's not trying to hurt you. He's making an attempt to save you from severe health problems and even death! There are cases where being outright truthful is beneficial even when it hurts feelings. However, truth should never be used to intentionally hurt others. Remember, God is truth and truth is all about love. Truth must never be used as a weapon of destruction!
How about these lies?
Santa brought those presents.
The Easter Bunny lays the eggs.
The stork delivered you.
Lies which are told to innocent children are still lies! I was never a proponent of misleading my children about these events and they seem to be well balanced. However, some cases have been reported where children disbelieved God because they fell for the lies of Santa and company. Make-believe isn't bad, but there are ways to allow your children to fantasize without your own prevarication. You can say "We pretend that Santa brought these gifts because today is special". That's truthful and leaves the door open for fantasy! However, the better way is to tell them about Jesus and the wise men from the East who brought presents at his birth, and that's why we celebrate this special day! Isn't the latter the truth and an edifying actuality? Why would we even consider fantasy when reality is such great news?
Start today: "My name is ______ and I'm a liar. Today I'm starting afresh. You can depend on what I say and that all I say is honest and truthful. I will not conceal anything to mislead. I'm doing this because I honor God and he demands truth. I want to please him."