Last Monday, I started a series on 10 shades of falsehood. For the next five Mondays, I will take two different shades each and show what the Bible says about them. What is the point? Because for a Christian, lying often happens subtly. Nobody actually plans at the beginning of the day to be a liar for Christ. There is no such thing. The Bible affirms that the devil, our adversary is the master of subtleties, wiles and deception. Thus, we are encouraged to be wise as a serpent, but gentle as dove. It is wisdom for us to be aware of the various sly ways through which our Christian testimony may be stained- so that by the grace that the Holy Spirit gives to us, we can triumph over falsehood (2Corinthians 2:11).
Falsehood happens to be on a spectrum. I do not mean that a liar on one side of the line is better than one on the other side. At all! The Bible emphatically states that all unrighteousness is sin (I John 5:17).
Like I said last week, falsehood is not a laughing matter. I believe it is one of the little foxes that can rubbish the testimony of a child of God and limit the extent to which such person can be used by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself stated that the devil is the father of all liars. We cannot claim to have God as our Father and still want the devil to adopt us. It can’t work. It won’t work and since God respects the will of a man, continuing in falsehood may just be us insisting on whom we want to call daddy.
If you missed the story (about Nnamdi) that prompted this post, here is it. I refer again to Nnamdi’s story because for me, he comes tops on the ranking of how people lie. Please bear in mind that Nnamdi told all of us in the bus that he was (is) a Bible believing, church attending Christian. So this is not a struggle that is exclusive to ‘the infidels’.
1. Blatant Lying. The name says it all. This is almost an obsessive, compulsive urge to lie. You may remember people like this from secondary school. Folks who told us about their father’s 7 cars- 1 car for each day of the week. I was particularly blessed with these people. Everywhere I turned- from my bunkmate to class mates, I found them. They told me ‘true-to-God’ stories of how the president visited their homes, how they have seen real mermaids, how they have a whole room devoted to chocolates in their home…I can go on, and it gets more ridiculous.
Unfortunately, some people don’t outgrow these things. They carry into adulthood the ever expanding sore of the soul, festered by the need to impress; to be ‘something’ when one actually is ‘nothing’. You may have people around you who are like that. We have them at work, the neighbourhood, and unfortunately, at church.
The aim of this post is not only to diagnose ills, but to prescribe healing paths as well. What can heal the soul of a man than the Word of God (made flesh for us in Jesus.). People who fall in this category are primarily victims of insecurity and low-self esteem. Who they are is not enough for them, so they have to be somebody that they think everybody aspires to be. The disease of insecurity cannot be treated in one article but permit me to say that it is not of God. God has made us fearfully and wonderfully. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and He has given us ALL that pertains to life and godliness (Psalm 139:14 Ephesians 1:3, 2Peter1:3).
If you would devote time to realising, celebrating and trading with the amazing talent(s) that God has given you, perhaps, you will be less inclined to makeup highfaluting stories about who you wish you were. Nnamdi, why does it matter that people think you can drive from Benin to Lagos within two hours? Why say you have a fiancée in Timbuktu when he exists only in your prayers? Why does it matter to you that people think you have a certain net worth? You real worth has been irrevocably dictated by the One Person that matters, and He says you are priceless, precious and worth dying for (Isaiah 43:4).
The truth of the matter is, wise people do not believe your lies; they see through it and feel sorry for you. Some people are repulsed by it and those who would have thought of helping you through your obvious financial struggle will simply leave you fend for yourself with your imaginary gold.
See Philippians 2:3-11 for more help.
2. Jokes and Coarse Jesting. The book of proverbs 26:19 aptly defines this category of falsehood as “one who deceives their neighbour and says, "I was only joking!” (NLT) or “is someone who lies to a friend and then says, "I was only joking."(NIV).
I understand that some belief systems mark professional comedians in this category in that they lie to people to laugh, and then say’ I was only joking”. Except I get a different scriptural understanding in the future, I am not referring to professional comedians. I refer to people who lie for the fun of it. At my place of work, there is a young lady who takes delight in her ability to lie to boss, colleague and subordinates without being caught. In her presence, they praise her prowess, behind her back, heads shake dismally at her reputation. When she says something, nobody believes her.
Are you a joker? Or perhaps you are not a joker but you talk too much. I think that the fellow who frequently makes a clown of himself so that he can be the life of the party may unconsciously be suffering from the insecurity of the people I label Nnamdis. It is extremely difficult to talk excessively and not stumble into telling lies, gossiping or dirty talk for in the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin (Proverbs 10:19). Dwight Eisenhower once said “never miss a good opportunity to keep your mouth shut!” That is a precious saying indeed.
If you are compulsively compelled by your own self to be funny all the time, one day, you will lie to be funny- without getting paid anything except the wages of sin, death.
See Philippians 2:3-11 for more help
As I continue this series, I find that I repeatedly ask myself exactly why I am doing this. Isn’t this a waste of time? Isn’t a lie a lie? Truly, lying is lying. But the aim of this series is that by the grace of God, our eyes would be open to the subtle ways in which the sin of falsehood can creep up on a Christian. I personally find that as I focus on the subject, I am increasingly aware and conscious of my own speech. Regardless of the shape it takes, falsehood is of the devil, for as Jesus told the lying law keepers, “You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
A man who finds himself enslaved to falsehood ought to cry for repentance and grace for victory in holiness like the man who is enslaved to immorality. Bear in mind that false teachers started from somewhere- probably from telling lies.
If the Holy Spirit is convicting you of falsehood or any other sin, rejoice first and then repent. For at least, I take it to mean that my conscience has not been seared beyond repair. Then I still have hope. God is still interested in me. I fear for and pity the man whom the Holy Spirit no longer pricks his conscience on sin. That man deserves the world’s pity for he is a tragedy that has happened, waiting only to be revealed.
Has God at anytime convicted you of lying or any form of falsehood? Do you have a testimony of overcoming falsehood? Share your thoughts in the comments section, and strengthen other readers.
I leave you in God's care,
PS: Picture from eternallifeblog.com
PS: Picture from eternallifeblog.com