Sunday, 27 July 2008 00:00

Pierces of Swords: Lying Speech

Ephesians 4:25 (ESV)

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

In our culture we have come to the point that we don't like to use the word "lie." Instead we say things like "strategic misrepresentation" or "reality augmentation." Historians lie by re- shaping history to conform to current morals. Advertisers lie to sell their products. Politicians lie to garner votes. Coaches lie to get a job. Preachers lie to gain respect.

"Honesty now looks like a dubious virtue if not an actual vice." (Lloyd Stephens)

The New York Times in 9196 had this headline, "What a tangled web we weave; we ALL practice to deceive." The accompanying article stated that 91% of Americans confess that they regularly don't tell the truth. "...As a society, we have moved very far away from the age when a man's word was his bond, to one in which people are more accepting than ever before of exaggerations, falsifications, misstatements, misrepresentations, gloss-overs, quibbles, concoctions, equivocations, shuffles, prevarications, in short—lies."

  1. There is an explanation regarding the source of lying speech.
    "Put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires" (v.22). Paul then gives a specific characteristic of the old self. "Therefore, putting off falsehood" (v.25). Lying is a characteristic of "old nature." You do not have to teach someone to lie, it comes naturally. The command is truth.
  2. There is an expectation regarding the stoppage of lying speech.
    The ESV gets the verb tense right: "Therefore, having put away falsehood" (v.25). The Christian can lie, but he is not a liar. He is a saint who lies, and is miserable in it. "Murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, shall have their place in the lake of fire" (Revelation 21:8). No Christian can lie and be at peace in the soul.
  3. There is an exhortation regarding the sin of lying speech.
    "Put it off" (v.25). But the Christian may ask, "How is this kind of speech stopped?" Our natural hardness of heart against God leads to darkness of understanding (v.18). Darkness leads to ignorance of what is truly valuable and desirable in life, and in this ignorance, the Prince of Darkness, called the father of all lies steps in and deceives.
    1. You are deceived about what real pain is.
      The chief priests and elders of Israel lie in order to avoid the pain of rejection. (Matthew 21:23- 27). "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the LORD means safety" (Proverbs 29:25). The real pain in life comes from lying.
    2. You are deceived about what real pleasure is.
      There is something you feel that you really, really want, so you lie in order to get it. There is no sweeter pleasure than that which is obtained by telling the truth. "In the end, there is favor in truth telling, not lying" (Proverbs 28:23).
    3. You are deceived about what real praise is.
      "The Pharisees did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:42-43). Let us all set examples of honest, up-front, straight-forward, candid leadership.

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