I recently came across some interesting stats about lying. According to one source, 60% of people can't go more than 10 minutes without lying. By the age of 4, 90% of children understand the concept of lying. Men tell twice as many lies a day as women. I think it's safe to say that one of life's biggest struggles is being honest. Honest!
Lying is intentionally misleading someone from the truth. Key word: intentionally. We've all innocently given misinformation or communicated wrong facts. That's just part of being human. We call those honest mistakes. However, when we intentionally mislead someone from the truth, we become liars. Lying comes in many forms: outright deception, half-truths, exaggerations, insinuations, and intentionally leaving someone "in the dark" when you know the truth. Because lying can literally destroy one's influence and reputation, not to mention damage others, we should desire to have integrity and live being honest.
Lying is a big deal to God. One of the 10 Commandments is don't lie! There's an interesting story in the Bible about a husband and wife who sold some land and gave part of the proceeds from that sale to the church. However, they lied about how much they made and gave only a portion to ministry after committing to give all. As a result it costs them their life! You can read about it in Acts 5:1-11. Let me be clear: their sin had nothing to do with the amount of money they gave, rather their deception, lack of integrity, cheating, and misleading God's people from the truth. Lying costs them their life.
In order for us to enjoy the quality of life God desires for us, we must have integrity and be honest. Understanding that 1) lying is first an offense against God, 2) when we lie we identify more with Satan (the father of lies - John 8:44) rather than Jesus (the Truth - John 14:6), 3) if you're not walking in truth, you're walking in darkness, 4) lying is the "gate sin" that leads to other sin, and 5) lying destroys but honesty protects, we must overcome our struggle of lying.
If we want to overcome our struggle with being honest, we must:
- Determine why we're lying. Do you lie to others because you're afraid hurting feelings? Are you insecure so you feel you must exaggerate to impress others?
- Abandon behavior you're having to lie about. Instead of lying about your whereabouts, avoid going to places where you shouldn't be. Instead of lying about taking something that didn't belong to you, don't steal! Instead of cheating on a test, study! Instead of cheating the time clock at work, show up on time. Praise your co-worker behind his back to the boss instead of taking credit for his work.
- Let your honesty impress. Avoid exaggerations. If you have to exaggerate your story to make others accept you, maybe they aren't worth your friendship.
- Accept the consequences of telling the truth. Fact: the truth hurts sometimes. However, lying will alway hurt worse.
- Refuse to lie for others.
- Avoid deep conversations when you're emotionally charged or tired.
- Be tactful. Speak the truth in love. Practice gentleness.
For more on this, watch the full message!