The Truth About Lying

Being the youngest of three boys I was naturally the favorite, the best behaved, and the most loved. It didn’t hurt that I was also the cutest.

I was: (1) the favorite  (2) best behaved  (3) most loved  (4) and cutest.

Was any of that true? Well, I was the youngest of three boys. Is lying saying things that aren’t true or not saying things that are true?

My mischievous brothers were always having fun and doing it without me. So with a resentful heart, I found ways to get them into trouble. They would deny it, but they were often tagged anyway since it was their nature to mess up. I would sit on the couch, smiling, and enjoying the sounds of sweet revenge. It wasn’t a perfect crime since my brothers would inevitably get even. The truth was sometimes a sliding scale for us.


One day Mom went into the kitchen and discovered that her freshly made chocolate cake had been invaded. “Boys,” she yelled, “get in here.” Thus began the grueling interrogation. “This cake was for tonight and now it’s ruined. Who did this?” We each denied it. “Well, it’s amazing that none of you touched the cake and yet it has a big piece missing. I guess it ate itself.” This line of reasoning was hard to escape, but ultimately failed to get a confession.

Parents want their kids to tell the truth. Even when they know who is guilty, they still want a confession. Things always go easier on the perp if he fesses up. Eventually, my oldest brother got the heat. Not because he was oldest, but because he stood there lying with frosting on his face. This was going to end badly for him, but he still lied. Go figure. Mom obviously saw the frosting, but she wanted a confession, she wanted the truth.

eating cake

Kids and people lie because:

  1. The feel bad and hope by lying it will go away.
  2. They fear the consequences so avoid detection.
  3. They don’t want to hurt others by telling the truth.
  4. They think if they don’t get caught, they aren’t really guilty.
  5. They lack integrity and personal responsibility.

As a sitcom character once said, “If you believe it, it isn’t really a lie.”

Jesus once said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Truth thrives in the light, has nothing to hide, and stands up to scrutiny. Truth doesn’t feel embarrassed; it’s not intimidated, threatened, or diminished by falsehood.

Paul wrote, “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15).

As believers we are called to speak the truth and to live the truth. Jesus is truth.


Choosing Our Altars

This is the altar Jeroboam built in Northern Israel.

Most of my sins are spontaneous, not premeditated. I don’t typically craft a plan for sinning. Sometimes, but not usually. But Jeroboam did, at least on one occasion. He was the newly crowned king of the newly founded nation of Israel, of the divided kingdom, and he was greatly troubled. What troubled him was the idea of his people going to Jerusalem, in Judah, to worship at the temple. His concern was that they might not come back. So he thought about it and came up with the plan to build two altars: one in the North and one in the South. Having built them, he then needed priests to serve at the altars since all the Levites remained in Jerusalem. So he appointed anyone who volunteered. That was the only qualification for serving. He must have felt confident that he could keep his loyal subjects loyal by making worship convenient. His actions violated the Law of Moses, dishonored the Aaronic Priesthood, and ushered Israel into deeper idolatry, but none of this seemed to bother Jeroboam.

It’s when our hearts are laid bare and our intentions uncovered that the premeditation is evident. It’s the justification for trading what is right for what is popular, pleasurable, or politically savvy. Premeditated sin almost always ends in chaos, conflict, and pain, it happens all the time. I’ve done it and it’s never worked out well for me. I end up broken, seeking forgiveness, and so very grateful for grace.

God told Solomon:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Jeroboam wasn’t humble, praying, or turning away from wickedness. Whatever face he was seeking, it sure wasn’t the Lord’s. His plan ultimately failed because his intentions and actions were wrong. It destroyed him and his family, and plunged Israel into ruin. 

It’s never too late to do right. Never too late to turn our hearts back to God. If we are considering how to sin and get away with it, then we need to wake up and turn from our wicked ways. We choose humility and we seek His face. We seek Him still.