Lying. The Royal Road To Chaos
Can you remember your first lie?
Did you get away with it?
Maybe, maybe not.
But I bet you knew then, as you know now, it was wrong.
In the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus commands those who would follow him to, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Everything else comes from evil.” Jesus loves the truth, spoke the truth, was the truth. On the other hand, Satan is the Father of lies.
The truth should be a big deal for Christians.
What sets lying apart from most other vices is that pretty much everyone agrees it’s wrong. Even if you don’t think much of Jesus, I bet you were taught, at some stage in your life, to tell the truth. Say what you mean and mean what you say. The boy who cried wolf, Pinocchio’s nose, a mouthful of soapy water and all that. Everyone admires a person of integrity.
Remember Samwise Gangy… “I made a promise Mr. Frodo, and I aim to keep it.” Go Samwise! But what do you think of Lance Armstrong? Or Belle Gibson?
Sam Harris is one of the world’s most famous atheists. Fair to say we wouldn’t agree on much. But he wrote a book called “Lying” where he suggests that if we eliminated lying completely then our lives, our relationships would improve dramatically. Who could argue?
He also says: “Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption - even murder and genocide - generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie.” In other words, if you are capable of lying, you are capable of anything. Lying is the royal road to chaos.
So we’re all in complete agreement.
Lying is wrong. We want the truth.
The problem is, lying is everywhere. We all know this. It’s become normal. We expect to receive dodgy emails and phone calls trying to scam us. We expect governments or prospective governments will over-promise or that most of what we hear is passed through a PR filter, a PC filter, a focus group acceptability filter. We assume advertisers are exaggerating and that we are hearing spin almost every day from everywhere. Surely we’re wise to the fact that our Facebook friends aren’t as happy or as pure of heart or as principled as they appear?
But it’s worse than that. Much closer to home. We lie – probably more than we realise. One research study found that guys lie about 6 times per day, and girls about 3 times. While another study found that in an average 10 minute conversation, more than half the population will lie 3 times. “Sorry I missed your call”, “I’m fine thanks”, “I’ll try and make it…”, “I have read and agreed to the terms and conditions.” Of course, these are just the little white lies we can put in a blog…
But here’s the real problem with lying for followers of Jesus who care about walking in holiness: I would suggest that lying is the last vice we are willing to admit to.
Over the years I’ve heard people confess they have a problem with greed, a problem with lust, a problem with the fear of man, or with alcohol. I’ve even had a friend confess to buying an illegal automatic pistol on the black market. But I’ve never, not once, heard anyone admit they have a lying problem - that they’re a liar.
So the upshot of all that is, we are living in a world full of lies, but no liars.
Lying about our lying is a foolish game for followers of all-knowing God to play…