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Proverbs 6:17 says that "a lying tongue" is an abomination to God. "Lying" means telling a deliberate or intentional falsehood. There are many forms of lying. Could it be that we are guilty without realizing it?
For example, hypocrisy is a form of lying. 1 John 2:4 teaches that, if a person says "I know God" but does not keep God's commands, that person is a liar. Yet many religious people profess great dedication to God all the while knowing they have sins in their lives that they have no intention of correcting. God says they are liars!
Another form of lying is making false promises that we could keep but simply choose not to. Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man, that He should lie ... Has He said, and will He not do it?" The implication is that, when a person makes a promise he could keep but refuses to do so, he has lied. God does not do this, but people often do. What about you and me?
Then there is the half-truth, in which a person tells things that are technically correct but deliberately leaves out important facts or tells the story in such a way that leads people to reach a false conclusion. In the Old Testament, for example, Joseph's brothers sold him to be a slave. Then they took his coat, dipped it in animal blood, took it to their father Jacob, and said that they had found this coat. Jacob, of course, concluded that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal, which is exactly what the sons wanted Jacob to believe, though they never came right out and said so (Genesis 37:31-33). Nevertheless, they had deliberately deceived their father to believe a falsehood. Are you guilty of lying like this?
Ephesians 4:25 says we should put away lying and speak the truth to our neighbors. Revelation 21:8 says that "all liars" will have their part in the lake of fire, which is the second death.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2/5/2005
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