In 2016 I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching the summer Olympics. As the games progressed a frightening story was developing. American swimmer Ryan Lochte had been robbed at gun point. The story came out that Ryan and three other men had been robbed at gunpoint during a taxi ride. The kicker was that the men who robbed them flashed badges. Then it came out that Ryan had a gun placed on his forehead during the robbery. Olympic athletes feared for their safety. It looked like Brazil would receive a black eye for the Olympics but the truth came out. The whole story was a lie! It was fabricated after a night of partying.
It seems like lying is all around us! Remember when Tiger Woods told the world that he was a faithful husband? The truth came out that he was having extra-marital affairs with over a dozen women.
Remember the man who won seven consecutive Tour de France titles? Years later Armstrong confessed to taking performance enhancing drugs.
We all know about Bill Clinton and his famous words: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Lie!
Maybe the most heart-breaking for me was when Milli Vanilli were accused of lip syncing their song: “Girl you know it’s true.” It was a massive hit but the pop stars confessed to lip syncing. It seems that we are surrounded by lies in almost all areas of life.
We all know this, but lying hurts all parties involved. The lies we just talked about hurt millions of people. Think about the last time you were lied to and how you felt. Think about the impact it had on your life, relationships, and integrity you thought someone had. When was the last time you told a lie? Maybe it was this week at work or to your children. It could have been a big lie or a white lie to just keep things quiet. No matter what, lying hurts.
Being a Truth Teller
Many of recall the ninth commandment in the most simplest terms of “do not lie” and that’s a good start. But the commandment is longer than that:
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Exodus 20:16
Let’s talk about lying. There are all kinds of lies that people tell: white lies, whoppers, fibs, gossip, half-truths, exaggerations, misleading silence, lying on paper, lying at work, lying at home.
Sometimes we lie to make ourselves look better. An example of this might be: “The check is in the mail” when really you never sent the check. Sometimes we lie to make others look worse. At work a colleague might lie about an employee’s perform.
We’re all familiar with Pinocchio. Every time he lied his nose grew just a little bit. Sometimes it feels like life would be easier if that happened to everyone who told a lie. Instead of wondering who is, or isn’t, lying to us we could see that they are lying to us.
The hard part about the day and age we live in is that we have to constantly decipher who is lying to us. We feel lied to by our boss at work when she tells us she tried to get us the raise we asked for. We feel liked to by the politicians we elected who promised to solve a certain problem. We feel lied to by our neighbor who swears his dog didn’t poop in our front yard.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colossae and instructed them to give up lying:
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
We read this and think that the early church must have been full of liars. Maybe it was, or maybe there just a few. Paul wrote this because saw lying was an issue that was hurting the early church. Some people grew up lying. They learned that sin from their parents. I’ve seen first-hand how lying hurts the local church. A half-truth is shared as if it were the entire truth. Gossip learns to walk, is passed on as truth, shared on Facebook, and next thing we know another church split takes place.
If you have placed your trust in Jesus, this passage is for you. It’s more than giving up lying, it’s surrendering your life to Christ and being transformed. There is progression that Paul teaches us about being sanctified as we keep following Jesus.
If you have yet to place your trust in Jesus, this transforming life is available to you today. Listen to what George Orwell once wrote: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Lying has become more accepted and we need more truth-tellers in this world.