Life Enrichment through the BIBLE … Session 2: Is Lying OK?
We know it is GOOD to tell the TRUTH.
But there are times when we are TEMPTED to LIE.
We need all the encouragement we can get, to be as TRUTHFUL as we can.
So HOW can the BIBLE help?
The Bible was written in Hebrew, and the Hebrew words for ‘TRUTH’ and ‘LIES’ explain WHY LIES are bad for us:
The HEBREW word for TRUTH is ‘emeth’, meaning STABILITY and TRUSTWORTHINESS;
from ’aman’, meaning TO BUILD UP or SUPPORT
The HEBREW word for LIES is ‘kazab’, meaning EMPTY and FALSEHOOD
OR ‘sheqer’ which means A SHAM or TO FAIL
So how does this help?
Well, imagine you’re BUILDING something. You need STABLE building blocks to place on a SOLID foundation, or what you build will fall down.
TRUTHFUL words are like STABLE building blocks. We can build STABLE relationships with them.
LIES are like SHAM bricks— EMPTY spaces. Bricks built on top of them will have NO SUPPORT, and ‘the building’ will crumble.
DECEIT is very HURTFUL to people trying to ‘build’ with the Liar. They will stop building!
And that is why LIES can DESTROY relationships.
But hang on a minute!
Is EVERY LIE a BAD thing? After all, people LIE for lots of DIFFERENT REASONS:
- Some people lie to protect people.
- Some people lie because they are scared of the consequences otherwise.
- Some people lie as a quick fix out of a problem, and then regret it.
- Some people lie because they don’t feel they are good enough and feel they need to pretend to be something they are not.
- And some people purposely lie to deceive people, to gain something for themselves.
Fortunately for us, the GOD who shows himself in the BIBLE as ‘loving and forgiving, full of goodness and truth’ (Exodus 34 v 6) knows the MOTIVES behind EVERY LIE. HE listens to our thoughts and understands WHY we do everything. He also knows when we feel SORRY for what we’ve done, and when we DON’T feel sorry, and WHY. God knows every hidden agenda, whether it is good or bad—whether the lie was felt to be NECESSARY in the circumstances, or NOT. (Psalm 139)
If we HAVE done something wrong, and admit it, God will forgive and forget what we have done, if we ask him to.
We can be INSPIRED by the people in the STORIES in the BIBLE to think about WHY WE do things. Their life-choices and what happened to them become EXAMPLES for us and help us in OUR life-choices.
These people were INSPIRATIONAL in that they STUCK to what they TRULY believed.
NOAH (Genesis 6)
Noah stuck to what God had asked him to do, even though it seemed a rather eccentric thing to do.
DANIEL (Daniel 1 v 8, 2 v26-28)
Daniel stuck to God’s principles regarding food, refusing to go against his conscience. When God interpreted the King’s dream, Daniel could have taken the credit, but he HONESTLY gave the credit to God.
Daniel’s 3 friends, SHADRACH, MESHACH and ABEDNEGO (Daniel 3)
These men honestly opposed a powerful Babylonian King, who threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace, and did! They were willing to DIE for what they believed, but God used the event to show how much MORE powerful he is than any human king.
THE PROPHETS — ELIJAH, ISAIAH, JEREMIAH and EZEKIEL (1 Kings 19 and 21 and 22, Isaiah 20 and 38, Ezekiel 3 and 4)
All these prophets had to stand up to Kings and peoples and tell them TRUE WORDS from God. Usually, God was telling the people off, so the Prophet would not enjoy doing this. The kings could kill them. But what made them BRAVE was that they believed that GOD was with them.
“’If God is FOR US who can be AGAINST US?’”
(Romans 8 v 31)
These people made BAD life-choices. They used DECEIT and TRICKERY to gain self-esteem.
For every ONE faithful Prophet of the Lord, there were hundreds of FALSE PROPHETS. These pretended to speak God’s words but used their own—usually what they thought the King or people wanted to hear. They made God very angry, because God was trying to guide Israel, and these LIES were getting in the way. (Jeremiah 23 v 16-18, 21-32)
Check-out 1 Kings 22—There are 400 prophets saying what the King wanted to hear. Micaiah is told to agree with them!
HANANIAH prophesied peace with Babylon. So did the Mediums, Sorcerers and Diviners (Jeremiah 27 and 28). But Jeremiah rightly quoted Deuteronomy 18 v 22 at them: “You are only a TRUE prophet if your prophecy comes TRUE” (v8). And it didn’t. “You have persuaded this nation to trust in LIES” says Jeremiah “and God says you will die”. 2 months later, Hananiah died.
ELYMAS was a Sorcerer who tried to turn the proconsul of Paphos, Cyprus, away from the believing in Jesus. Paul said of him: “You are a child of the Devil and an enemy of everything that is right. You are full of all kinds of DECEIT and TRICKERY. Will you never stop PERVERTING the RIGHT WAYS of the Lord?” (Acts 13 v 6-12). Elymas was struck blind, but the proconsul believed!
ANANIAS and SAPPHIRA
These two agreed to LIE about how big their gift to the Church was. Peter said: “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have LIED to the HOLY SPIRIT … You have not lied to men, but to God.” (Acts 5 v 1-11)
When we LIE to people, God is listening and we are LYING to GOD as well.
But are there EXAMPLES of those OTHER types of LIES we listed, in the BIBLE?
And if so, what happened to the people involved?
Peter LIED about knowing Jesus! (Luke 22 v 57) He was scared and this was a ’quick fix’ which he bitterly regretted. But what is encouraging for US is that Jesus never counted it against Peter, because Jesus knows what it is like to BE SCARED.
RAHAB LIED to protect the Spies (Joshua 2). She did what she felt was necessary in the circumstances.
MICHAL LIED twice; to protect her husband, David, and then to protect herself (1 Samuel 19 v 11-17)
JEREMIAH was ordered by King Zedekiah to LIE, to protect both him and the King (Jeremiah 38 v 24-)
We have no idea whether RAHAB, MICHAL AND JEREMIAH felt they needed to ask for forgiveness, but we know that if we regret a lie, WE CAN!
And it is BECAUSE of this AMAZING PROVISION of FORGIVENESS in JESUS CHRIST that believers LOVE GOD and JESUS and long to become more and more like them, which is also God’s will—
’that we may be filled to the measure of all the FULNESS of God’ (Ephesians 3v19)
God is ‘full of love and TRUTH’ (Exodus 34 v6)
Jesus is ‘full of grace and TRUTH’ (John 1 v 14)
And because of this, we can: ‘receive from the fulness of his grace, one blessing after another’ (John 1 v 16)
And that’s the TRUTH!