A Lie By Any Other Name Is Still A Lie

16 There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things He detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

~ Proverbs 6:16-19  NLT ~

Is it me, or does it seem that lying has reached epic proportions?  Think about it…  Politicians (including the President), whom we vote into office, lie so much and so often, that we’ve come to expect it from them.  Indeed, it has become the norm, and most people are seldom even shocked or angered when a politician is caught in a lie.  And what about lawyers, who are supposed to be teachers and keepers of the law?  Most are quick to lie, especially if it means winning their case.  And what do we do, when we discover that someone has told yet another lie? Many  just make jokes about it…

18 Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.

~ Proverbs 26:18-19  NLT ~

Let’s look at Brian Williams, NBC’s anchorman, who claimed that while he was in Iraq in 2003, his helicopter was shot at and hit by ground fire. However, this wasn’t true…

An honest witness does not lie; a false witness breathes lies.

~ Proverbs 14:5  NLT ~

Many people were outraged, when Stars and Stripes published the truth, as reported by U.S. soldiers, who were actually involved in the incident, Williams claimed to have been a part of, and according to them, his helicopter was an hour behind the ones that were shot at.  After being caught in his lie, Brian offered the following apology…

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

~ 1 John 1:9  NLT ~

I’m troubled by the fact that Williams didn’t apologize for lying or misleading the public.  He merely apologized for making a mistake. Below is the definition for the noun, mistake according to dictionary.com

  1. An error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment, caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
  2. A misunderstanding or misconception.

A mistake is unintentional, but he deliberately lied, and not just once either, though his apology seemed to imply that.  The truth is that he has told this repeatedly over the years, on NBC’s Nightly News, in books, in print, and also in the above interview with David Letterman.  With each telling of the story, it has evolved over the years, and Williams’ personal involvement in the shooting has grown from zero to hero, His apology seems very insincere too, because he never accepts responsibility for lying.  Instead, after being caught in his lie, Mr. Williams confessed that he “made a mistake in recalling the events of twelve years ago…”

Now, as you might imagine, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had something to say about Mr. Williams’ lie, near the end of one of his segments.  Unfortunately, O’Reilly’s statement makes it sound as though ‘t Williams’ lie wasn’t a problem, but the fact that he got caught in his lie…

“He knows what he did was wrong, a lot of people exaggerate their life experience, and he did and he got caught.” 

Of course, Bill O’Reilly has also been called out on several occasions recently, by former coworkers at CBS, who say that his claim of having been in the “war zone” during the Falklands war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in the 1980’s, is false.  In fact, NO American journalists ever reached the war zone in the Falkland Islands and other territories in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, during the conflict.  The difference between Mr. O’Reilly and Brian Williams, is that O’Reilly chose to attack those who called him out for lying, admitting to no wrong doing.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

~ Matthew 7:1-2  NLT ~

Within just a few days of the aforementioned scandals, we learned about yet another scandal, this time from one of the members of the President’s cabinet.  While on CBS Evening News, recently, when a homeless veteran told V.A. Secretary, Robert McDonald, that he had been in the Special Services unit of the armed forces, McDonald replied, “Special forces? What years? I was in special forces.”  Sadly, that turned out to be a lie…

McDonald’s lie was discovered and reported within days of Brian Williams’ scandal, and like Williams, Mr. McDonald publicly apologized…  Furthermore, just as Brian Williams’ apology seemed insincere to me, Robert McDonald’s apology also seemed phony.  For, just as Williams did not confess and apologize for lying, neither did McDonald, who claimed he had “incorrectly stated that I had been in Special Forces.  That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”   According to this apology, McDonald was just trying to connect with the homeless man and while doing so,  he misstated his military history.  Really??? Give me a break!

In the midst of all these lies, the media is having a hey day, as they gather around the liars like vultures, ready to feast on the road kill.  Meanwhile, the military and its veterans are outraged over the lies, and rightly so.  The general public is also incensed over the lies, and I have to admit, I was too.  Then, I started thinking…

How many of us have lied and justified or excused ourselves for doing so?

“It’s just a little white lie…”

“I only told a small fib…”

“I exaggerated about what happened…”

“I misspoke…”

Have you ever lied to your spouse or your parents about how much money you’ve spent on something or where you’ve been?  Have you lied to your boss about why you really called out?  Did you ever tell someone to say you weren’t home, so you wouldn’t have to talk to the person at the door, or answer the phone?

Have you tried to justify your lie, because you wouldn’t need to lie if that person didn’t always over-react to situations? Or perhaps you’ve excused yourself, because one little lie never hurt anyone…  Maybe you’ve even told yourself it doesn’t really matter, because no one will ever find out about it anyway…

17 For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

~ Luke 8:17   NASB ~

Many of us become completely outraged, when someone lies to us.  It also makes many of us furious, when someone like Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly or Robert McDonald lies.  After all, someone in their position should be credible, right?

Lying Tongue

As a child, I lied constantly.  It’s true that I was abused as a child, and many times I lied for survival, but that doesn’t justify it or excuse it.  In fact, the more I lied, the easier it got, and the lies grew.  I lied so much, that I was often able to convince even myself that a lie was true.  I lied to survive, and I lied about things that didn’t  even matter.  You see, when you tell one lie, you become enslaved to it, because one lie leads to another, then another, and so on.

I  wish I could tell you that when I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, one summer, somewhere between the ages of eleven and fourteen, I stopped lying, but that wouldn’t be true.  I will say that I tried really hard to stop lying, because I knew it was sinful, but lying was a stronghold in my life, and the harder I tried to stop lying, the harder it was to quit.

During my teenage years, I fell away from the Lord.  I still believed in Him, but I was also filled with doubts about Him.  You see, someone, who habitually lies, usually has a deceiving spirit within him/her, and not only does that spirit lead him/her to be deceptive; it also succeeds in deceiving the deceiver.  So, basically, I was a liar who found it easier to believe lies rather than the truth… 

I was around fifteen years old, when I stopped walking with the Lord, and for the next ten years, I chose to go my own way.  I am so grateful that during the time I walked away from God, He never left me.  When I lied, He continued to convict me of my sin.  When I cussed and told dirty jokes, He was still there, reminding me that my behavior was sinful.  When I was twenty-five years old, my son was three, and my daughter was a little over one, and I decided it was time to take my children to Sunday School, because they needed Jesus.  I didn’t realize that I needed Jesus just as much or more than they did, but God knew. He also knew that before my children could know Him, I needed to know Him.

I hadn’t been bringing the children to Sunday School for very long, when I was asked to start teaching Sunday School.  Now, in order to teach Sunday School, you have to prepare for it, and the way to prepare for it is to pray and read and study the bible.  As I began to study the bible more and more, I realized how much I needed Jesus back into my life.  Meanwhile, though I struggled to stop, I continued to lie, and since I’d rededicated my life to Christ, I was racked with guilt.  

I hated lying by now, but I just couldn’t stop it, because I lived in fear.  Looking back over my life, I understand that the biggest stronghold in my life, which led me to lie, was fear.  When I was younger, I lied because I was afraid of losing my parents’ love, as they beat me and cursed me.  As an adult, I lied because I was afraid of losing my  husband’s love.

lying tongue 2

I remember fasting one Saturday, and going to church to be alone with the Lord, praying and preparing for my Sunday School class.  As I was praying, the Lord pressed me to tell my husband about a secret I’d been keeping from him, but I was afraid he would leave me, so, I refused.  I lived in such fear of losing his love, that I didn’t tell him, when some of our bills increased beyond what we were able to pay.  Though he never abused me, I’d grown up in an abusive household, and I was terrified of losing him and being forced to live with my parents again.  The Lord kept leading me to tell my husband about this, but I was afraid to trust Him, so I continued to refuse.

Then, a few days later, after a medical procedure, which left my husband feeling very sick, he began to talk about how much he loved me, and what a great wife I was.  I told him to stop saying that, because I wasn’t a great wife.  I told him I wasn’t even a good wife, but he just looked at me with love in his eyes and said I was a wonderful wife, and he loved me very much.  Guilt and shame overwhelmed me, and I confessed everything to my husband, just as God had commanded me to do.  After confessing my deception to my him, my husband looked at me through his eyes of love and told me not to worry.  Together, we would take care of things.

After that day, I was no longer bound by fear and deception.  Does that mean that I haven’t failed since then?  No, I’ve lied since then, but I’m quick to confess and repent of my sins, and here’s the funny thing.  I don’t lie now, because that sin no longer binds me.  God set me free from fear that day, and I’m no longer afraid to tell the truth.

32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

~ John 8:32  NLT ~

What about you, beloved reader?  Before you get angry with those who lie and try to deceive us, have you examined your own heart?  Are you free from deception?  If so, praise God, and instead of being angry at people like Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly or Robert McDonald, pray for them, and ask God to set them free from their fear of the truth, in Jesus name!

If you still continue to lie to people, especially those you love,  ask God to deliver you from fear and deception, in Jesus’ name.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

~ 2 Timothy 1:7  NLT ~

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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