Spiders build webs, and a lot of bugs get stuck in them. Well, that’s because, see, the spiders know where the sticky spots are, so they don’t get trapped in the webs they weave. But humans do.
I saw it once when I watched Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong. At that time, the kind of the world’s greatest biker. “One big lie” – that’s how he described what happened in his record-breaking sports career. It was all built on brilliantly concealed “doping” and a cascading series of cover-up lies. Lots of folks got caught in the web, from bicycle racing officials to teammates to a world of admirers.
Actually, the Latin root of the word “deceive” means “to ensnare.” First of all, lying ensnares those being deceived. Ultimately, it ensnares the one doing the deceiving. Trust gets lost. Reputation is lost. Self-respect is lost. You get lost.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Why Lying’s a Really Big Deal.”
I’m sure a lot of people looked at that champion Lance Armstrong and said, “How could he do such a thing?” Well, how about we look in the mirror and ask, “How could I do such a thing?” Because here’s what God says about the entire human race, “Their tongues practice deceit” (Romans 3:13).
The spotlight exposing the star athlete’s lies actually spills over and I think it exposes some of our own dishonest ways of getting through life. Especially if you identify what lying really is. It is any intention to deceive; to mislead – to leave people believing something other than what’s really true. You could do that by exaggerating, “spinning” the facts a little bit, covering up, leaving things out, making false promises, or telling people what they want to hear.
Oh, we have our reasons. Lance Armstrong back then said lying was part of “anything to control the outcome.” We lie to get our way, we lie to get out of a jam, we lie to get people to like us, we lie to get ahead. We deceive our husband, our wife, our family, people at work, our pastor, the people at church. We lie to the doctor. We lie to people we want to impress.
More than we want to admit, the truth is often optional in how we do life, or at least bendable. And ultimately, we start to lose touch with reality and we can’t even hear our own lies. Inevitably, we’ll get caught in the web that we have woven.
We might think lying is no big deal. Well, It is to God, and we’re going to answer to Him some day. On the Bible list of six things “the Lord hates,” lying is the only one that appears twice in Proverbs 6:16-19. And in our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 101:7, He bluntly declares that “no one who practices deceit will dwell in My house.” Wow! God’s a God of truth. Lying sets God against me. Dishonesty? It’s a very big deal.
God hears lies when everyone else – maybe even the liar – thinks it’s the truth. He says the one who “may dwell in (His) sanctuary” is the one “who speaks truth from his heart” (Psalm 15:1-2). That probing Scripture has given me a “lie detector” question to ask myself throughout the day: “Does what’s coming out of my mouth match what’s in my heart?” If it doesn’t, it’s a lie. Jesus tells me that the devil’s “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). And that makes lying even scarier.
Some years ago, I started praying a prayer that God has been more than faithful to answer. “Lord, set off an alarm in my soul any time I’m saying something that is less than the truth”; asking the Lord for instant conviction of any statement that might be intended to deceive, followed by instant correction of that statement so I’m speaking the truth from my heart.
I am grateful that when “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:4), He paid for every lying thing, every selfish thing, every hurtful thing we’ve ever done. Which puts total forgiveness within our reach. Can you imagine a clean slate from the day you reach out and put your trust in Jesus? And if you’ve never had that day, let this be the day that every sin of your life is forgiven as you make the Savior your Savior. Wow! This could be the day you are finally clean.