Summary: God hates lying because He is truth. Speaking the truth will accomplish many wonderful things in your life.
Sept 10, 2000 Exodus 20:16
“Liar, liar; pants on fire”
“Liar, liar! Pants on fire! Nose that’s as long as a telephone wire!” Probably all of us either said that or had it said to us when we were kids. It’s a good thing that it’s not really true. Otherwise, many of us would be walking with a limp, burnt and in a lot of pain. Some churches might even come in both regular and extra crispy.
As a pastor, I face the possibility that I could speak on a topic that is really not an issue in the lives of the people in attendance that day. It’s called “Scratching where no one is itching.” To prevent this problem in one church, the “minister wound up the services one morning by saying, "Next Sunday I am going to preach on the subject of LIARS. And in this connection, I would like you all to read the 17th chapter of Mark." The next Sunday, the preacher rose to begin, and said, "Now, all of you who have done as I requested and read the 17th chapter of Mark, please raise your hands." Nearly every hand in the congregation went up. "Very good," said the preacher. "You are precisely the people I wish to speak to this morning. There IS no 17th chapter of Mark!"” – Bible Illustrator.
Is there ever a time that lying is ok? How serious a matter is lying? Consider how serious lying would be in the following situations:
Firestone official: “The tires that you are riding on are safe.”
Presidential candidate: “I promise that there will be no new taxes.”
Trial witness: “I saw Carol Hardman with the group that robbed Wes Banco Friday night.”
Airplane mechanic: “The engine you saw me working on will last through your entire flight.”
Groom: “I will be faithful to you alone until death.”
God considers lying a very serious matter regardless of whether the consequences of that lie are immediate and deadly or not. (Prov 6:16-19 NIV) There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Yet as much as God hates lying, I doubt that there is a church or any group of people where there is not a large contingency of liars present. May I suggest that many of you have probably already lied to someone this morning. Just in case you may be living in denial of your own tendency toward lying, I have prepared a list of some of the most common lies that we tell or that get told to us. See if you can find yourself anywhere on this list. [deal with the list in reverse order]
1. When someone asks you on Sunday morning how you are doing, you say “Fine”.
Sunday mornings, that morning that we’re supposed to be the most spiritual, is in reality the day that we lie the most. We put on our nice clothes to hide the sin that is inside. We plaster on a fake smile to hide the heart that is breaking. We answer, “I’m just fine” to people when they ask us how we are doing even though our life may be falling apart. Why is that? Maybe we’re scared that no one cares, that no one has the time, or that someone would reject us if they really knew what was going on inside our hearts. The Bible doesn’t speak of church as a place where perfect people come to congratulate one another on how perfect they are. It talks about church as a place where hurting people come to admit their hurt and find healing for their hurt. The book of James records God’s command to “Confess your faults one to another” so that you might be healed. (James 5:16) The church house should be the place where we are the most free to be ourselves and admit our weakness. That’s why we’ve come here today – to admit our weakness before a holy God and to praise Him for His holiness and strength.
2. The policeman asks you, “Do you know how fast you were going?”. You answer, “No; was I speeding?”
3. Someone calls on the phone for you, and you step outside the door so that your wife or child can say that you are not in at the moment.
“A salesman knocked on the door of a rundown apartment house in a low-rent district. The mother didn’t want to talk to the guy, so she told her little boy to tell him she couldn’t come tot he door because she was in the bathtub. Her son answered the door this way; ‘We ain’t got no bathtub, but Mom told me to tell you she’s in it.’” [Tales of the Tardy Oxcart, p. 344]