Swift Blogging Challenge: Sweet Little Lies
When (if ever) is it ok to lie? And why (or why not)?
If you’re brave enough, share an example of a lie that you told which you thought was necessary. Give details.
I’ll probably come across sounding like an old prude for saying this, but it’s true (no pun intended)… I believe that it is never okay or good to lie. To understand my reasons for feeling this way, you must first understand that I grew up in a house of lies, and for much of my life, I lived a lie.
I know that a lot of people claim that not everything is black and white, and that there are a lot of gray areas, but that isn’t how God created me. I do see things as right or wrong, good or bad, black or white. For me, to drift over into those “gray” areas is to compromise my faith and my integrity, and so, at the risk of being branded “intolerant,” I will tell you some of the many reason why I believe it is wrong to lie, and why I believe that there are no such things as “Sweet Little Lies.”
As a Christian, I look to the scriptures to show me how to live, and here are just a few of the scriptures that talk about lies:
- The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful. (Proverbs 12:22 NIV)
- I will not allow deceivers to serve Me, and liars will not be allowed to enter My presence. (Psalm 101:7 NLT)
- Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:3 NLT)
- Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies! (Psalm 34:12-13 NLT)
That’s just a small sampling of the many scriptures that speak against lying, and for me, as a child of God, at this point in my life, that’s reason enough to be against lying… But my reasons don’t end there.
You see, I’ve seen firsthand what lies can do to a person… to a family… to a culture… to a nation… to the world. As I said at the beginning of this post, I grew up in a house of lies, and I know the damage that lies do. As a child, I told so many lies that I often deceived myself as well as others.
I can remember my mother beating me until my back and butt
bore bruises shaped like the imprint of her hand, because I told so many lies. “If there’s one thing I hate,” my mother would scream at me in rage while she beat me, “it’s a liar!” My heart used to break every time she would shriek those words at me, because it was just another reason – a BIG reason for why I was so unlovable.
And here’s the crazy thing – I really hated lying, but I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone, but it’s true. I started off lying out of fear, but then the lies would grow, because when you tell one lie, another lie has to follow in order to keep up the pretense, and it doesn’t take long before it grows out of control.
I remember feeling so guilty when I would lie to my parents, to my teachers, to my Sunday School teachers, to my sister, to my grandparents and on and on and on and … you get the picture. And then, there was my mother and father… If I wanted them to love me, (and I did) I had to lie to earn their love… only they couldn’t really love me, because I was lying, and if there’s one thing they hated, it was a liar. Do you see what a vicious circle lying creates?
And then there was this other thing that really disturbed me. My mom and dad lied. I remember the first time I became aware that Mom lied. I was only around 7 or 8 years old, and I heard Mom say, “Jesus Christ,” not because she was actually talking about Jesus, but because she was using His name as a curse word. A few days later, we were riding in the car, and I asked her what taking the Lord’s name in vain meant.
They had talked about that at vacation bible school, and this little girl didn’t know what they were talking about. Mom very seriously replied that taking the Lord’s name in vain is a terrible sin, and we must never do that. “You know how some people say ‘JC’ and some people say ‘GD’?” she asked me very seriously, looking at me in the rear view mirror, as I solemnly nodded my head yes. “Well, you should never ever do that, because that is very bad. Mommy might cuss, but that’s one thing I would never say,” she continued.
“Mommy, that’s not right. You’ve said ‘GD’ and ‘JC’ before. I’ve heard you,” I promptly retorted, remembering that she had just said that a few days before.
“No, you have not ever heard me say that,” she replied quite sharply to me, and I started to argue back, because I knew darn well I’d heard her say that, when I caught the look in her eye… You know, “the look”… the one that says, “You’d better shut your mouth before I slap it.”
“Oh,” I replied quickly. “I’m sorry Mommy. You’re right. I didn’t hear that.” There! I lied again, in order to protect my mother’s lie, and in order to protect myself from receiving a beating.
The other big lie that sticks out in my mind happened when my dad molested me. After he left the house, I had called Mom at work and told her what he had done to me, and she said we would talk later, when she got home from work (3-1/2 hrs later), and she told me not to say anything about what happened to my sister, because I wouldn’t want to upset her.
That evening, when she got home, she sent my sister to our room with me, while she talked with Dad. Now, let me just give you a picture of how I was thinking and feeling. During the 3-1/2 hours that I waited for my mommy to get home from work, I had everything figured out.
You see, I knew it was going to be hard for us to live alone, without Daddy, but I was going to help Mommy. I was going to start doing better in school, and I would do all of the cleaning, and help her take care of my little sister, and even though it would be hard, I was going to be a good girl from now on. I was going to stop lying and arguing with my sister. In fact, I was going to protect my sister, and the three of us were going to be very happy together.
When my mother entered our room a little while later, she sent my sister out of the bedroom, and shut the door, so we could speak privately. “Did your father have to beat you because you got in trouble today?” she asked me. I looked at her, startled. That wasn’t a question that I had expected. When I shook my head and said that I had not been in trouble, she responded, “I just talked to your daddy, and I didn’t let him know that you told me what he did to you. I just told him that you called me at work and said you were afraid of him. Then he told me that you got in trouble today and he had to spank you, and that’s why you’re afraid of him.”
I looked at my mother in disbelief. “This is the woman who hates liars?” I thought.
“I told him that I didn’t want him hitting you anymore and scaring you, and he said he won’t. He’s really sorry about what happened, and he said that it won’t happen again, so I’ve decided that we’ll stay for now, but if anything else ever happens again, you let me know, and we’ll decide what to do then. Also, I don’t want you to say anything to your sister, because that would just hurt and upset her, and you wouldn’t want to do that would you? And don’t tell anyone else either, or you could destroy our family.”
Numbly, I nodded in agreement, as she went on. “Now your daddy said he wants to talk to you and tell you he’s sorry, because he loves you, okay?” What could I say? What was I supposed to say?
Dad entered my room a couple of minutes later, and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t remember much of that conversation, except that he too instructed me not to tell anyone or I would destroy my sister and our family. I remember staring at both him and mom, and thinking of all of the beatings that I had received from their hands for lying, and now, look at the two of them. We were living in a house of lies, and I bought into their lies, hook, line and sinker.
I believed the lie that I was the one at fault. I believed the lie that I would destroy our family if I spoke the truth. I believed the lie that by continuing to lie (oh the irony of it) by burying that dark secret deep within me, I was protecting my sister. I believed the lie that everyone else’s happiness must be protected at my expense.
Can you see why I hate lies? Can you see why God hates lies? He hates lies, because He knows how they destroy the lives of men and women.
Is there such a thing as a “sweet little lie” or a “white lie”? Let me share one more example for you before I close. When my children were little, I taught them to believe in Santa Claus. When I say that I taught them to believe in Santa Claus, you should know that I went all out with it… My husband would wet his boots, and we would place a hand towel on the floor, by the chair where Santa would sit to eat his Christmas cookies, and my husband would step onto the towel with his wet boots, leaving Santa’s boot prints etched in the towel. And then, I would sprinkle gold glitter, also known as “Christmas Magic” all around where his foot prints were. Then, if we were blessed to have snow, my husband would make “reindeer tracks” and “sled marks” in the snow, (or the dirt when we didn’t have a white Christmas) while I followed behind sprinkling “Christmas Magic” quite liberally on the ground.
My children loved Christmas, and they were so excited to wake up on Christmas morning and discover all that Santa had left behind. This lie didn’t feel like a lie to me, and I guess I would have even told you that it was a “white lie” or a “sweet little lie” at the time, until the day came that the truth about Santa Claus was revealed to my son.
My son loved Santa Claus, and he believed in him with his whole heart, well past the age when other children believe in Santa. He was between 11 and 12 years old, when I revealed the truth to him in a very ungentle, unkind way. He was being disrespectful as many children that age are, and I accused him of being unappreciative of all that his dad and I did for him, to which he obnoxiously replied, “You and Dad never do anything for me or get me anything. Santa Claus and Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, and Grandma and Grandpa are the only ones that ever give me anything.”
In my anger, I responded, “Well who do you think Santa Claus is?” My son’s eyes got great big as I continued, “There is no Santa Claus. Your dad and I have given you everything.” As I confess this story to you, I have to tell you, that this was one of those times in my life that I am deeply ashamed of, and as the tears welled up in my son’s eyes, my heart broke, and I was very sorry.
As tears flowed down his face, my son questioned me, “You mean you and Dad lied to me about Santa Claus?” he cried. When I tried to explain that it wasn’t really a lie, that we did it because we loved him, he just looked at me in disbelief. My explanation suddenly seemed pretty lame to me, because as I looked at it through his eyes, it became very clear to me, that the fun we had given him was based on a lie, and then he asked me a question that broke my heart, and caused me to see why God hates all lies.
“What about the tooth fairy? Is she real?” I shook my head no. “What about the Easter Bunny?” Again, I shook my head. “What about Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse” (click this link to see what he was talking about)? again, I shook my head no. “Are God and Jesus even real, then?” he asked, and the weight of what I had done fell hard on me.
You see, when we deceive someone, even with good intentions, we cast doubt on all that is good and true as well. I don’t want to be a part of any lies anymore.
So, am I telling you that I never lie anymore? I can honestly say that I try very hard not to ever lie, but there are times when I mess up and lie. That is when I go before God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness, as well as asking Him to help me to change. I don’t ever want my lies to be the cause of someone doubting the sovereignty of God. I don’t ever want my lies to harm anyone else, ever again.
Therefore, please don’t ask me to lie for you. Don’t ask me to deny the truth. Don’t ask me if I like what you’re wearing, if you don’t want to hear the truth. Can you understand why I say it is never good or okay to lie?
Cheryl A. Showers