A Lying Tongue
Imagine for a moment something that completely disgusts you. Something that makes you feel repulsed and offended. It may be something physical like a corrosive disease, or moral like an abusive crime. You know the feeling –that feeling of being so sickened that you unintentionally furrow your brow and frown from distaste. Have you thought of something yet?
Have you ever wondered what makes God feel that way? I suppose we could say that all sin causes a proverbial furrowing of His brow and frown on His face, but in Proverbs 6 we find a distinct list of sins that are an absolute abomination to Him. Among all the sins which one is capable of committing, these things are listed among those that totally repulse God. Proverbs 6:16-19 is where we find this list, and amongst these horribly repulsive acts against God we find what might come as a surprise. There the writer of Proverbs says this: “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…” (Prov. 6:16-17, NKJV). When reading this list, I find it to be much different than I would expect. My list would likely include things much more, as I would see it, consequential. But what is it about this list that comes as a surprise?
Though I could write an article concerning each of these sins, I want to consider for a moment God’s complete and utter outrage against lying. One might think, “Really? Is God really that disgusted by a lie?” Yes. Yes He is. So much so that He lists it among 6 things that are a total abomination to Him.
To understand God’s hatred for lying, one must first understand God. His very nature is truth. At His core lies an obligatory characteristic of truth. The psalmist describes truth as something that goes before His face (Ps. 89:14, NKJV). You see, God thought it necessary that we understand one thing about Him – that He is always, always true. No lie, not even an embellished word or exaggeration, can be found on His tongue (1 Pet. 2:22). Every word He has spoken, past and present, was intentionally spoken to communicate the entire truth. No more and no less. It is from this fundamental understanding of God’s character that we can see the “anti-God” nature of a lie. And it is because of this core understanding of God that we see verses like Hebrews 6:18 which states “…it is impossible for God to lie…” (Heb. 6:18, NKJV). God’s nature demands factual based truth in all He says and does.
Since we see such a high standard from God for Himself, we can’t help but conclude that He would expect the same from us, hence Jesus’ command to, “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no,’’no.’”(Matt. 5:27a, NKJV). He goes on to say that, “whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matt 5:27b, NKJV). Jesus’ statement that anything more than this pure, unadulterated truth is from the evil one is reiterated in John 8:44 when He says the following about the devil: “when He speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44, NKJV). Jesus said this to explain to the Pharisees that they were sons of the devil. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:44a, NKJV). This is pretty strong language from the Son of God, but does it resonate with us? Do we understand that we are associating ourselves with Satan when we lie? “‘Surely they are My people, children who will not lie.’ So He became their Savior” (Is. 63:8). God wants children who will not lie. Anyone other than this is a son of the devil.
Yes, lying is an abomination to God as is so clearly stated in Prov. 6:16-17. Prov. 12:22 states that, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD” (Prov. 12:22, NKJV).
But is it enough to simply understand this about God? As is the case with all aspects of our lives, being a follower of Christ is not simply observing His behavior, but adopting His characteristics for ourselves. Becoming a righteous man requires that we have God’s attitude about lying. “A righteous man hates lying…” (Prov. 13:5, NKJV). How do you feel about lying? Do you hate it? Being a son of God means that we rejoice in truth (1 Cor. 13:6) and hate anything that distorts it!
Lying is not limited to making up a completely untrue story, yet we often try to soften the reality of the lies we tell by justifying it that way. Remember, anything more or less than the straightforward truth is a lie. Not telling the whole truth, embellishing a story to favor one side over the other, and adding to the truth are all forms of a lie. According to Jesus, anyone who does this is a son of the devil. And make no mistake – these sons of the devil will not be with God in eternity (Rev. 21:8; Rev. 22:15).
One last thought – speaking truth comes from more than just a love for God. It comes from a love for one another. Being lied to is painful, and based on the principle of loving our neighbor as ourselves, we can understand how speaking truth to one another flows from a heart of love. Paul said in Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Eph. 4:25, NKJV). Similarly in Colossians 3:9 Paul states, “do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds…” (Col. 3:9, NKJV). Paul’s reminder of our membership with one another is an appeal to brotherly love – that since we are a part of one another, we ought not to lie to each other. Truthful speech with one another brings about unity – a unity that cannot be breached because of its foundation in truth.
It is vital that we understand a lie’s opposition to God’s nature. To be of God is to be of the truth, no matter how small that truth might seem. To be of the devil is to be a liar, no matter how small that lie might seem. Let us walk in love and put away lying, for we are members of one another.
By David Watson