In our last two blogs we have been talking about telling the truth. Today I want to talk about lying. Everybody seems to do it. But why? Why do some people have a difficult time with the truth?
Psychologists tell us that there are different kinds of lies and they all have different motivations. They have come up 4 major categories of lies that they say are the most common. I would like to talk about each one.
The first category of lies is called the cruel lie. This kind of lie is intentionally malicious. Politicians often use this strategy. They come up with slanderous statements about their opponents and often spend huge amounts of money promoting them. This is what the religious leaders did to Jesus. They viewed Him as a political threat to their position as religious leaders of the people. They manufactured false charges against Him, which ultimately got Him convicted of crimes He never committed.
A second category of lies is called the cowardly lie. This kind of lie is used to escape consequences. We don’t want to own up to something we did wrong. So, we come up with excuses. When Adam sinned, he told God, “The woman YOU gave me made me do it.” Instead of owning up to what he did, he blamed his wife. The motive behind this kind of lie is fear. Take a look at Proverbs 29:25.
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”
Peer pressure is a good example of fearing people. We want to be cool — we go along with the crowd — we want to be acceptable. We don’t have the courage to say, “no”, when we need to. So, we make up excuses and engage in cowardly lies.
A third category of lies is called the conceited lie. This is when we lie to impress other people. Here we are trying to create some kind of image to compensate for something else — like low self-esteem — or something else that we think is wrong with us. So, we lie about ourselves.
The main motivation behind this kind of lie is insecurity. People who cover up and present false images usually have very little confidence in themselves. They are often frightened and insecure. “I don’t think I’m good enough, so I have to puff myself up”. Studies show that 40% of people who prepare resumes do that. They enhance the truth because they are not satisfied where they are or who they are.
Sometimes we use this kind of lie to hide pain. Somebody hurts us and we say, “It doesn’t bother me”, but it really does. We are afraid to let our feelings out, because, when we do, we feel vulnerable and insecure. So, we resort to what is called the conceited lie.
A fourth category of lies is called the convenient lie. We use convenient lies when it is otherwise too hard to tell the truth. Let’s say your kids ask you to explain something. but you don’t want to answer them because it’s too hard or too uncomfortable or it will take too long. So, you tell them you don’t know. That’s a convenient lie.
Has anybody ever asked you to do something you didn’t want to do. And you say, “OK, I’ll do it”. Even though you have no intention of doing it. That’s a convenient lie.
Jesus said what’s in your heart is what’s going to come out of your mouth. If my heart is filled with resentment, I might find myself telling cruel lies. If my heart is filled with fear or worry, then I might tell cowardly lies. If my heart is filled with insecurity, then I might find myself telling conceited lies. And if my heart is filled with laziness, I might find myself telling convenient lies.
So, what’s the solution? The only way to stop lying is to get a new heart. Jesus specializes in heart transplants.
He says, “Let me fill your heart with love instead of selfishness — joy and peace instead of hate — confidence instead of insecurity — energy and power instead of laziness.”
Jesus said, “I am the truth.” The closer we get to Him, the more we will live in the truth.
So how do we break the habit of lying? The first thing we must do is confess our dishonesty. That’s always the starting point. We say, “I want to be a person of integrity. I want to break my habit of lying.” So, I confess, “God I’m a liar, and I admit it. I ask You to forgive me and give me the power to change, and I ask You to give me a new heart”. He will do that.
After you have made that confession, I encourage you to get some support. Get an accountability partner — someone you can trust. Tell them that you are recovering from being a liar. Ask them to hold you accountable for being honest. I realize this is a calculated risk, but it is one that is necessary. It will actually change your life.
Here’s a prayer you can use when you talk to God about your desire to be honest.
Lord, I desire to speak only the truth. I know that I cannot do it without You. So, Lord Jesus, I ask You to come into my life and forgive me and cleanse me. I know You paid for all of my sins by dying in my place on the cross. I accept your payment on my behalf. I ask You to send the Holy Spirit to permanently indwell me and change me. I know You have given me a new heart. I desire to follow it, rather than my old heart. Please empower me to do that. And as You do — please make me just like You. I thank You for all that You do. In Your name I pray. Amen