Summary: All of us struggle with lying, and some of us have surrendered to it. Understanding lying is a first step toward being victorious over this sin.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
( topical, I Timothy 4:2)
1. A lawyer invites his cousin from the Czech Republic to come and stay with him in Canada. Soon they decide to go hiking in the woods. Suddenly, a big grizzly bear appears. The bear kills the Czech cousin and then eats him.
The lawyer runs to the nearest village and tells everybody what has happened. The villagers form a search party and return to the forest. They come across some bears and ask the lawyer to identify the one that killed his cousin.
'It's that female bear over there.'
They kill the bear and rip open her stomach, but there is nothing there. They decide to kill the male bear nearby, and when they rip open his stomach, they find the poor Czech cousin.
The lesson: Remember: The Czech is in the mail.'
2. “The check is in the mail” has to be one of the top lies in America.
3. Lying is — and always has been — a human epidemic. It transcends all ages, cultures, religions, and classes. It is as natural as breathing. But it is wrong.
4. The Bible has much to say about lying — it is a broad and deep subject. In light of its extensive nature, we can only address some considerations.
Main Idea: All of us struggle with lying, and some of us have surrendered to it. Understanding lying is a first step toward being victorious over this sin.
I. Lying is a SPECTRUM
A. God’s Word gives us principles to weigh against one ANOTHER
1. A Scriptural principle
Ecclesiastes 7:16, “Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?”
2. A Scriptural example
I Samuel 16:1-2, The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’
• Difference between truth and whole truth. Also, we must consider what someone has a right to know… it can be right to withhold information.
• I visit a woman named Inge in the nursing home… she will ask, “Where are my children?”
• How far are we allowed to wander from the very center of truth? It is easier to deal with issues way over the line than near it.
3. God Himself sets the example for the right balance in speaking truthfully
• He orders deceptive measures in warfare (Gideon)
• But these are in matters of war or saving a life, not everyday life
• Lying is a lot like killing — permitted in war, self-defensive, or capital punishment, but it is murder if in cold blood
4. The general principle: God hates lying lips
Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”
B. Withholding or summarizing information is NOT necessarily lying
II. How We Become HABITUAL Liars
[7 levels adjusted from an essay written by Sarah Sumner, Christianity Today)
A. Seven LEVELS of Lying
1. You lie for SELF-BENEFIT or to protect self-esteem
2. You tell more lies to COVER UP the original lie
3. You develop a HABIT of lying
4. You become self-deceived and BELIEVE your lies
5. You RATIONALIZE that bending the truth works good (a virtue)
6. You develop the TECHNIQUE of latching on to isolated words and phrases or what was said in other contexts.
7. You think it is your DUTY to lie to maintain/improve things
• you then try to prove hypocrisy in others as a way to manipulate:
“You said your church believes in compassion. Well, why won’t you give me money? You are hypocrites.”
Truth: there are many avenues to express compassion, and we cannot support them all. We don’t exist to make you happy or satisfy your expectations.
B. We do not PERCEIVE ourselves as liars, only others (hypocrisy)
I Timothy 4:2, “…through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared…”
C. We CORRUPT our memory of what actually happened
D. Lying PERMEATES our lives
III. Addressing the LIAR within Us
B. Lying is a CHARACTERISTIC of the lost, and surrender to lies suggests a lack of regeneration! (Revelation 22:15)
Revelation 22:15, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”