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Small Lies vs. Real Lies

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,

And those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21

Definitions of lying

  1. Webster’s Dictionary – “Lie – n. 1. A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; a falsehood. 2. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture. 3. The charge or accusation of lying; a flat contradiction.
    v.i. 5. To speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive. 6. To express what is false or convey a false impression.

  2. Lying is NOT:

    1. Fiction stories, writing a novel

    2. Reporting the lie of another – “but he lied.”

    3. Parables, fables, jokes, stories

    4. Mistaken information – Jacob about the death of Joseph

We have several categories for lying. Are there degrees to lying?

  1. Flattery

  2. Half-truth

  3. Implication

  4. Silence

  5. Assumption of facts

  6. White (harmless)

  7. Bold-faced

  8. Truth stretching

  9. Avoid the truth

  10. Not hurt feelings

  11. Evasive answer

When are you most tempted to lie?

  1. Job application

  2. Age questions

  3. Avoid taking responsibility for a problem

  4. Protect feelings of others

  5. Avoid dealing with salesman

  6. Enhance our image

  7. Problems in your life

“Most of us think that fibbing is okay, provided we do it to protect other people’s feelings, according to a newspaper poll.

About 61 percent of people surveyed by USA Weekend said it was okay to lie, 57 percent said they have lied in the past and more men than women said they lied about their age. The good news is that 91 percent of the people surveyed swore they hadn’t lied in the past 24 hours.”


Are there lies in the Bible?

  1. Satan to Eve – Genesis 3

  2. Old prophet to young prophet – 1 Kings 13:18

  3. Judas’ compassion for the poor – John 12:6

  4. False teachers – Acts 15:1

Does God approve of lying?

  1. Abraham – “She is my sister.”

  2. Midwives – “We are always too late.”

  3. Rahab – about the spies

    1. One assumes that God approved such because there is no direct mention of punishment for them.
      Often the punishment is not mentioned or is delayed.
      Noah getting drunk, Solomon’s many wives, Israel’s idolatry.

    2. God blesses each of us:
      Not because we are righteous.
      But in spite of our unrighteousness.
      God blesses us anyway!
      God blessed Israel and Solomon.

    3. God loves us:
      NOT – because of
      NOT – in order to get
      BUT – in spite of

Why do people lie?

  1. To build their own image – resume, accomplishments, be a hero

  2. Cover up embarrassing things

  3. Hide our guilt

  4. Avoid punishment

  5. Avoid hurt feelings

  6. Avoid the truth

  7. To fool themselves – “Tell a lie often enough and you will believe it.”

Scriptures to be studied

  1. John 8:44 – Satan is the father of lies

  2. Romans 1:25 – False doctrine is a lie

  3. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 – Believe error = lie

  4. 1 John 2:21 – No lie is of the truth

  5. Revelation 21:8 – All liars in lake of fire

  6. Revelation 22:15 – Without are --- whoever loves and makes a lie

  7. 1 John 4:20 – Love God and hate brother = liar

  8. Ephesians 4:25 – Put away lying

  9. Colossians 3:9 – Lie not one to another

  10. Romans 3:13 – Tongues have used deceit

On the other hand

  1. Colossians 4:6 – With grace, seasoned with salt

  2. Matthew 5:37 – Say what you mean, mean what you say

  3. Ephesians 4:25 – Speak the truth with your neighbor

  4. James 3:2 – We all stumble in our speech

  5. Ephesians 4:15 – Speak the truth in love

Here is what God thinks:

  1. Numbers 23:19 – God will not lie

  2. Titus 1:2 – God cannot lie

  3. Proverbs 6:16-19 – Lying is an abomination, thing God hates

  4. Isaiah 28:15-17 – God will discover our lies

  5. Ezekiel 13:8 – God is totally against liars

  6. Proverbs 19:5 – Liars will not go unpunished

Situation Ethics?

  1. Hideous outfit – asked if you like it

  2. Family is keeping illness from patient

  3. Wedding reception line – music awful, bride ugly, flowers wilted

  4. Vacation trip – terrible time – “How was your vacation?”

  5. New car – “How do you like it?”

  6. Facing difficult personal problems – struggling with some sin or moral problem – “How are you doing? You look down today.”

  7. Is it ever proper to lie for someone’s good? I do not want to trick you but I do want to deceive you by telling you what I think you want to hear.

  8. Newborn babies are only beautiful to parents and grandparents. What do you say when you see an “ugly” baby?

  9. An abused mother comes to you for protection from violent husband. Husband comes to the door – “Is my wife here?”

  10. Surprise party planned – “What is going on?”

Comments about liars and lying

  1. I cannot stand for someone to lie to me.

  2. Lies are like boomerangs, they will come back to you every time.

  3. If you lie, you must have a good memory so you can remember all your lies and keep them straight.

  4. There is no rationale for any person to lie.

  5. We must not become a party to lying.

Speaking the truth in love – Ephesians 4:15

  1. Truth must be spoken.

  2. Truth must be spoken in love.

  3. It is not “unloving” to speak the truth.

  4. We must preach the gospel in such a manner that the unconverted will realize their need for salvation.


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