of Lying- how to change?
"Remove from me the way of lying"
(Ps. 119:29 NKJV).
We do not usually think of ourselves when we think of liars or the
"way of lying." Instead, we think of the deceptive practices
of others, such as perjurers, politicians or advertising writers.
But God wants us to discern our own deceptive practices. He is speaking
to us "honest" people, bom-again believers, when He instructs
us: "putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with
his neighbor" (Eph. 4:25).
The following examples are given by God to show us what fear, insecurity,
and desire can do to even great men of God, so that we might be alert
to our own weaknesses. Abraham deceived both Pharaoh
and Abimelech (Gen. 12:10-19; 20:2) concerning his relationship to
Sarah. Fearing for his life, Isaac told an outright
lie about Rebekah (Gen. 26:7). Rebekah and Jacob
practiced deception to obtain a great blessing for Jacob (Gen. 27).
Peter lied when he feared difficulty with the authorities
(Mt. 26: 73-74). In King David, a man after God's
own heart (Acts 13:22), we have not just one but three examples: his
misrepresentation of himself to the priest (1 Sam. 21:2); his deception
of the servants of his host (1Sam. 2:13); and his outright lying to
Achish (1 Sam. 29:9).
Jesus knew that choosing the truthful way of answering the question,
"Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?", would lead
to His being condemned to death for blasphemy. But He chose to reply
unequivocally, saying, "I am," thus choosing to suffer crucifixion
rather than to lie (Mk.14:61-62). Unlike ourselves, in Him there was
no "way of lying."
KNOWING THAT an outright lie is wrong, we often adopt a more subtle
way of lying, by telling only part of the truth. Abraham feared for
his life and wanted to deceive people into thinking that she was not
his wife. So he told them that Sarah was his sister (actually half-sister)
thus communicating a falsehood just as if he had said, "She is
not my wife."
There are many examples of this kind of deception in today's news.
MAKING EXCUSES is a
common way of lying which many of us indulge in, but we often do not
recognize the deceptions which we insinuate into them.
The way of lying exhibited in these involves twisting the truth by
placing the blame elsewhere. The next time you are about to make an
excuse, ask yourself, "Is what I am going to say really the truth
or is it going to be merely a way of lying?" Be very wary of
THE USE OF PRETEXTS,
similar to the use of excuses, can also be a way of lying. We offer
pretexts when we wish to cloak our real reasons for doing or not doing
certain things. We hide our real reasons because they are not as convincing
as the pretexts we offer.
WE CAN ALSO LIE not only with words themselves, but also with our
tone of voice, our gestures, and other actions which we can use to
create an appearance contrary to fact. Indeed, we often engage in
such posturing without realizing that it is a way of lying. David
for example said, "I am mad" by using actions, rather than
words, that suggested madness, such as scratching on doors and drooling.
An especially common form of posturing involves what C. H. Mackintosh
called "trafficking in unfelt truth." Why do we do this?
To deceive others, and even ourselves, into thinking that we are more
spiritual than we are.
MAKE NO MISTAKE about it, the practice of trying to make ourselves
look better than we actually are is nothing but hypocrisy! Hypocrisy
is a way of lying into which we, who seek to live for God, are especially
likely to fall. Our Lord specifically warned us to beware of hypocrisy
and labeled it unequivocally as "the leaven of the Pharisees"
Hypocrisy is a destructive attitude which, like leaven, spreads rapidly
and silently. Others imitate our example, and it spreads without our
even being aware that we are spreading it, because we have not said
anything. We all desire to be better, but deceiving others is not
the way to attain our desire!
THE ULTIMATE VICTIM of our way of lying is ourselves. After a while
our consciences stop bothering us, our deception becomes a habit and
we start believing our own lies. Why do we engage in such self-deception?
Is it not because our human nature cannot deal honestly with its own
weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures? Paul was aware of the danger
of self-deception and warned us saying, "Let no man deceive himself"
(1 Cor. 3:18). We should take this warning seriously. Not until we
stop deceiving ourselves can we discern or be shown where we are in
need of cleansing.
Do we sometimes mislead by telling only part of the truth, by offering
excuses, by using pretexts, and by posturing? Have we acknowledged
that there is a bit of the hypocrite in all of us? Not until we come
to such self-judgment can we truly pray, "Remove from me the
way of lying," and expect to see any results.
>> Letter # 32 (21. 9. 03)