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The Way 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 Examples

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 making excuses!

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" (Lk. 12:1).
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.

Be Encouraged.

>> Letter # 32 (21. 9. 03)

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