How many times have you seen someone try to get out of a tight situation, or maybe get something they want, by telling a “half-truth,” a “white lie,” or a “full-blown” lie? This is a common occurrence and has been from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. It has often been considered an acceptable response as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. But what does the Bible say about lying?
It compounds problems. There are many examples showing how lying has made matters worse instead of better. When Abram and Sarai are travelling to Egypt, Abram tells her to inform anyone who asks that she is his sister (Gen. 12:10-11). Because of Abram’s directions, Pharaoh will take Sarai as his wife at the recommendation of the princes of his country (Vs. 15). God sends plagues upon Egypt because of Pharaoh having taken another man’s wife for himself (Vs. 17). Pharaoh commands Abram and Sarai to leave Egypt (Vs. 19).
Abram and Sarai go to Egypt to escape a famine, yet they are forced to leave because they lied to Pharaoh about their relationship. This will not be the only time that Abraham and Sarah will try this (Gen. 20), and both times it results in them having more problems than they had before.
It corrupts trust. As one examines Genesis 29-31 there is constant conflict between Laban and his son-in-law Jacob. Much of that conflict comes from distrust between the two men based upon the many different deceptions and lies that have occurred over their history. In Genesis 29, Laban deceives Jacob by having him work seven years so that he might marry Rachel, but when the time comes he imparts Leah instead. Jacob then has to agree to work another seven years to receive Rachel. Over the course of the 20 years Jacob works for Laban, Laban deceitfully changes Jacob’s wages ten times (Gen. 31:41). There is such a lack of trust between these two men that Jacob leaves Laban without saying goodbye, hoping to get away without having to deal with the man any more. Lying has never been seen as a way to exhibit honor and trust between people. It only serves to corrupt trust and engender strife.
It condemns souls. Lying is one of the seven things listed in Proverbs six as being an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. An abomination is defined as something that is found detestable or hated. God hates lying in any form. In God’s eyes, there is no difference between a “little white lie” and a “full blown lie.” All lies are equally wrong and they all carry the same consequences for the individual perpetuating them.
John wrote in Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Here, at the end of a list that has included murderers, unbelievers, and idolaters, the inspired apostle John includes liars. God considers lying to be just as bad as any other sin. In order to be pleasing to him, one must strive to be as he is. God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2); and if one is to follow the example of God, he must do as Eph. 4:25 states, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.” It is high time we present the truth about lying in both word and action; and in doing so retain our integrity before both God and man.