We all know that famous saying about how the root of all evil is the love of money and indeed it’s a scriptural statement, but I’ve discovered over time that there is an even worse and more devious concept that has shown itself to be far more deadly and dangerous than the greed for money, in destroying lives and families. If you haven’t worked it out yet – it’s the deadly art of LYING!!
Right from the very outset of history and time, lies have been something that man has spoken to cover up sin and protect reputation etc. And lies don’t always come big and dark such as those perpetrated by politicians etc, because there’s not one of us who hasn’t committed the most common one of all – the “white” lie. That one you tell because you’re trying to not hurt someone – the typical one being when you’re asked your opinion on how someone looks and in an effort to please them you say whatever you think they want to hear rather than tell them what you’re really thinking. That one is so common it’s the source of multiple major jokes and most of us find it a harmless thing. But is it? I learnt a lot from having my 20-something stepdaughter living with me for a few years. She would routinely come in to see me wearing some new outfit she’d bought and wanting to know my opinion on it. When she first came to stay, I tended to say nice things even if I thought the outfit was hideous, but over time as we connected more and I came to know her tastes better etc, I got a better sense of what she did look well in and so by the time she was moving out last year, she knew she could trust me to tell her straight what I thought. I never hid my initial reaction and she knew immediately what my view was likely to be, so to tell her something different was hugely obvious to her and I learnt not to even try to be deceptive in my opinion. And while this was a very small example of the wisdom of truth over even the simplest of lies, I found sometimes that she would actually lie about situations such as being late for her work or not going in to work at all, spinning some tale to her boss – she would openly tell me about doing this, and always prefaced it with “God forgive me but…” My view on that was always if you have to ask God to forgive you in advance of something then you know you shouldn’t be doing it to start with!!
But it got me thinking about lies in general, and I realised very fast how they truly are the root of all evil. If you think about how the old adage of “one lie leads to another” – how many of us has sadly gone down that route over something that initially perhaps seemed like a good thing. Most of the worst sins around start with lies about something – adultery being the most obvious. But even with many others, it will invariably be easily traced back to lying and deceit in some form or fashion. Bill Clinton’s notorious debacle took lying to a whole new level and sadly politicians for the most part seem to have actually turned it into an entire craft almost given how easily they seem to be able to twist things around to deceive everyone as subtly as possible.
We also all know there are lies of omission as well as lies of commission but the end result is always the same – deception. And for a Christian you truly have to consider the root of all of this – who is the “father of lies” and who revels in deception – only Satan of course, so to allow yourself to give in to this most basic of sins is truly something we all need to work hard to overcome. My personal stance at present is to the best of my ability to tell the truth at all times in all situations regardless of how it will be for me. Taking responsibility in this manner is something that was drummed into me in my 1st job as a Veterinary Nurse, where my boss told me on the very first day – “If you make a mistake, tell me about it – to lie is to allow an animal to maybe die as a result and that would be your responsibility.” It stuck heavily with me, and I found myself tested many many times as I made more mistakes than I care to think about, but it was a sensible piece of advice, when I sometimes had to own up to something knowing it might cause someone else a lot of hurt too, but ultimately it became a very good habit that has lived with me ever since.
While money may indeed be the root of all evil, quite often you will find lies mixed in there too, as many of those who have amassed great wealth in this world have done so on the back of deception in some form or other, whether actively through lying about how much they have and doing everything to ensure it is kept safe from all and sundry including the taxman, or passively by doing deals that rely on subterfuge and deviousness to protect their assets in some way or other. Even on the lowest rung of that particular ladder you find in many marriages, that partners will routinely lie to each other about either how much they earn, or how much they’re in debt.
But lies will always come to light and the inevitable fallout can be absolutely devastating if not completely life altering in its effects. You only have to look at adultery to know how that works even if you’ve never gone down that particular road personally. And once someone has started lying about one issue, the next becomes easier for a time, but eventually so many are piling up and they start to fall apart, one by one. And there is no bigger hammer to strike a marriage with than the inevitable loss of trust that lies produce in the relationship.
The concept of the “white lie” is something slightly different – many times we undertake that particular type of deception for “the best possible motives” i.e. to spare someone’s feelings or to be positive rather than negative. While laudable as a concept to a degree, it is a lie nonetheless, and many times I think the recipient would truly prefer the truth, and to trust the giver of it, rather than wonder whether they are indeed just saying what they think the person wants to hear. I know personally I would certainly have a truthful person over a liar of any degree, any day!! And trust me, the moment you tell that lie, your conscience will begin to harass you until it will be overwhelming, and you know you have to confess it. If you don’t and instead ignore it, you will do what scripture calls “hardening” your heart against truth, and God will abandon you to your chosen path, which ultimately will end in disaster.
One important thing to know is that lies have their source in the worst possible person in history – Satan – he’s provided the title of the “Father of All Lies” in scripture and deception was his first major role in mankind’s history.
Scripture has a LOT to say about lies and God reveals His own views on it reguarly throughout:
Woe to them! For they have fled from Me. Ruin to them! Because they have sinned against Me. Though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me. Hos 7:13
And this verse would be extremely well applied to many of our current day “prophets” who seek nothing but vain glory for themselves when instead they should be on their faces before God in repentance:
And Jehovah said to me, The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I did not send them, nor have I commanded them, nor did I speak to them. They prophesy to you a false vision and a worthless divination, and a thing of no value, and the deceit of their heart. Jer 14:14
So, just stop and think next time you’re faced with a situation which is provoking you to lie rather than own up to your actions – while the latter will be hugely tough, you will be greater respected for it and that will stand in your stead and perhaps provide a much better outcome than you could have imagined, but the better thing yet is to not get yourself into dire situations that require you to ever consider lying in the first place!!
Check out the post in the One Year Bible on this topic too.