Speaking Life: The Lying Tongue

The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.

-Proverbs 12:22, New International Version

 I’m sure that most of us know at least one person who tends to lie a lot – and most likely not intentionally, it has just snuck in and come a part of their lives. It started out most likely as a little white lie here and there, and now consumes a part of their identify. It’s affected their relationships – I am sure that you can attest to this, it’s probably harder for you to trust these people.

 All of us lie, it’s inevitable. Some people do so more than others, but it’s important for us as Christ seekers to seek the highest standards, to stand wholly for what Christ represents. This means that we have to find out what God hates and avoid it, and find how Christ lived and speak and act in it.

 Here are six things that God hates, and one more that He loathes with a passion:

eyes that are arrogant,

a tongue that lies,

hands that murder the innocent,

a heart that hatches evil plots,

feet that race down a wicked track,

a mouth that lies under oath,

a troublemaker in the family.

-Proverbs 6:16-19, The Message

 God hates lying so much that it’s mentioned two different times in this passage. Lying as we think of it isn’t only blunt, bold-faced lies, but they can be more discreet as well. A lying tongue can also come in the form of deceitfulness, half-truths, and exaggeration. I, Courtney, personally have struggled most with exaggeration, though it’s more of a personality trait I like to say. 😉 But with some people, it honestly is, or something that they just do not realize or see as a flaw. Most of the time I wouldn’t have considered it to be lying if I told a story saying that it happened “a couple of days ago”, when really it was several months back. In my mind, it felt like only a couple of days ago, so I do not see a problem with stating that as when it happened. Though I often do not see it to be wrong, I have to keep in mind that some people, especially if you’re meeting them for the first time, will take you for your every word. I have several people in my life who others have jokingly warned about, saying things such as “Don’t take her too seriously, you can only believe about half of what she says”. If you’re talking about the time that you hosted a youth event and you said that 20 kids showed up when there were really 19, that’s not that big of a deal. But if you tell someone that you paid $50,000 for your home and it really cost you $150,000, that’s a bigger deal. So just use your best judgment, try to think before you speak, and pray and ask God for guidance and wisdom, that the Holy Spirit would give you accurate speech.

 Another act of lying which most wouldn’t consider a huge deal is speaking in “half-truths”. An example of this could be telling your boss that you were late because you lost your car keys, when in reality you did lose your car keys, but you also woke up late, have poor time management, you felt the need to complete an insignificant task before work, and you also just had to stop at Burger King to get breakfast. Half-truths may not seem like that big of a deal to tell, but we need to remember that we’ve been called to live with higher standards, with integrity: “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8, New Living Translation). It’s also interesting to note that the word “integrity” derives from the word “integer”, which is a mathematical term. An integer is a whole number as opposed to a fraction. When we walk in integrity, we tell the whole truth and not just a fraction or part of it.

 “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech” (1 Peter 3:10, NIV). The book “30 Days to Taming Your Tongue” by Deborah S. Pegues had a good insert on deception: Why do some people practice deception? Many do it for financial gain, for social advantage, to hide immoral acts, or to obtain other “benefits”. Jacob, whose name meant “trickster”, conspired with his mother and deceived his father into giving him the birthright blessing that belonged to his brother Esau (Genesis 27). When Esau discovered the deception, he threatened to kill him. Jacob was forced to leave town and to live with his Uncle Laban. Notwithstanding, he had to reap the seeds of deceit that he had sown. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying his daughter Leah, whom Jacob did not love. Laban further deceived Jacob by changing the terms of his employment agreement numerous times. Jacob was forced to work 14 years to marry Rachel, whom he did love. Eventually, because he abandoned his deceitful ways and became a tither, God blessed Jacob beyond his wildest imagination. He returned home after many years with a beautiful family, much abundance, and a new name: Israel. Engaging in deceitfulness is a slap in God’s face and has dire consequences. When we make a choice not to trust Him to handle a situation, we, in essence, decide He is a liar and will renege on His promise to meet every need. We then proceed to make our own way by any means necessary – even being deceptive. In doing so we forfeit the good life God had planned for us.

 We ourselves can only do so much in this battle of temptation, so pray for God to lead you and give you His speech and thoughts.

 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue – it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

-James 3:7-10, The Message

 The Bottom Line of Speaking Life: Lying is one of the things that God hates, God detests. Speak this over your life: My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. (Proverbs 8:7-8, NIV) State this daily over your life if you have to, until you believe it and it becomes true of you.

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