The Problem with Lying
I used to love watching the TV show HOUSE. One of my favorite statements of Dr. Gregory House, is that “everybody lies.” I couldn’t agree more.
Most people lie because they want to make themselves look better, avoid hurting other people’s feelings, or to gain some kind of social status. I’m guilty of doing all of these at some point or another. According to an article in Readers Digest, the average person lies once or twice a day, which leads into the temptation to believe that lying isn’t that big of a deal. But this couldn’t be more wrong.
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I’m called to walk in the footsteps of Christ, which is to walk in the light. Every lie is shrouded in darkness. This means every lie I tell, however good the intention, means I’m taking one step away from Jesus and into the path of the enemy. There is only one Father of Lies, and his name is Satan (John 8:44).
We tend to justify our lies. We know it’s wrong, which is why most of us get that uneasy feeling in the pit of our stomach when we do it. However, a study has shown that as lying and exaggerating increases, the response of the amygdala decreases, showing people become more and more desensitized to repetitive dishonesty.
Senior author of this study, Tali Sharot, PhD, told sciencedaily.com, “When we lie for personal gain, our amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie. However, this response fades as we continue to lie and the more it falls, the bigger our lies become.”
With every lie a person tells, the brain essentially feels less and less guilty or ashamed, which naturally leads to larger and more frequent lies. It’s a rabbit hole Satan opens by inviting you into a cave of darkness. The deeper you go, the more your eyes adjust to seeing in the dark. Soon enough you become accustomed to living in the dark. The light is just too bright to go back. Like a frog slowly boiling to death, your integrity and conscious are cooked.
Hebrews 6:18 says that it is impossible for God to lie. Titus 1:2 says God never lies. Deceit is not in our Creator, or in the Holy Spirit who comforts and leads us, nor in our savior Jesus who died for us. Light and darkness cannot co-exist. If we’re to follow Christ, to be so bold as to call ourselves Christians, we need to have a personal conviction to walk in the light, regardless of the consequences.
We lie to preserve or magnify self. Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23 say the same thing: if anyone would come after (Jesus), let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow (Jesus). Luke adds the word “daily.” We have to be willing to give up social status, to look like a fool, and to admit to causing someone harm if we’re going to follow the Jesus of the Bible. Rather than magnify self we're to magnify Christ, the author of truth and life.
It’s difficult, it’s messy and yet it’s pure and undefiled living.
Paul wrote a letter to Timothy saying, “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and depraved of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6:3-5, ESV).
This is evidence of one who’s brain has become disillusioned with what is true. If you really know Christ and follow Him, you’ll be convicted every time you lie because Jesus’ teachings are all about living in the light and in truth. We all lie, but when we do those who follow Christ will repent of their lies, not continue to swim in the excuses that justify them.
Let me repeat what I said earlier: I’ve been just as guilty as everyone else for lying and justifying my lies. I write this blog not to beat anyone over the head with a two by four into the truth, but to speak truth so you understand the gravity of a lie on your own heart and mind. Lying, especially chronic lying, destroys relationships. If you find yourself heading down the rabbit hole, turn around.
Get out of the pit, and come back to the light.