|Volume 22 Number 9 September 2020||
Jerry R. Kendall
A lady was walking down the street and saw several children standing around a kitten. She asked them what they were doing. “We’re having a contest,” said one little girl. “The one who tells the biggest lie, wins the kitten. “Naughty, naughty,“ the woman replied. “When I was a little girl, I never told a lie.” The children looked at each other, huddled together, and then a boy spoke up. “Give her the cat. We can’t beat her.”
When was the last time you told a lie? To whom did you lie? What did you hope to accomplish with the lie? Is lying all right as long as it is for a good reason? Does lying violate the truth and violate trust? Is lying like building on a decaying foundation? Is honesty in a friend an important characteristic? Has our country seen an alarming decline in basic honesty? Are we a nation of liars as was stated in a U.S. News article? Do we agree with an elected official who recently commented, “We all make promises with no intent to keep them. All of us will lie when we have to, or when it serves our purposes. One quality needed in public figures today is the ability to tell a lie and make it believable to his constituents.” Could one say that in today’s world being a good liar is a necessary tool for success? Is there a prevailing attitude that if you can get away with it and it helps you go ahead and lie?
I was brought up with the basic belief that the truth matters. My mother told her ten children that it was a sin to tell a lie. She also let them know that if they lied, they had better have a good memory, so they would not be found later contradicting their lie. The worst correction we received was for not being truthful. What parent is there who does not desire his children to be completely honest? Parents, do we ever choose to lie to our children? Also, when we tell them about Jesus, would we ever tell them He lied?
Some think that changing what they call a lie makes it acceptable. They don’t lie, but use deceptive words, a clever dodge, are guilty of fabrication, have been technically incorrect, are good at manipulation of the facts, stretched the truth, told a whopper, just tell little white lies, and my favorite, have used a terminological inexactitude. Whatever terms one may decide to use, a lie by any other name is still a lie!
Who’s telling lies? How long would the list be? What about advertisers? Do we really believe what most politicians say? Does anyone ever pad an expense account with inaccurate information? Is every fish caught and athletic accomplishment claimed true? Is time off from work ever taken under the pretense of illness? Does anyone misreport his taxes, or do the American people prepare their tax returns with all the known truth? Do job applications, career credentials and educational achievements ever contain altered statements? Lawyers? I would like to hear, “The one I’m defending has said he is not guilty. He’s not being truthful. I’m convinced he committed the crime, but I will do my best during his trial to confuse and bewilder you 12 gullible citizens with enough wrangling, silly doubts and double talk so you will overlook the evidence and let this loathsome creature off with a slap of his hand.” Our current legal system would not survive if lawyers all of a sudden began telling the truth and nothing but the truth. Then, would a husband or wife be untruthful with a spouse? What a list! Some will lie and do whatever necessary to succeed, beat the competition, get the desired support, avoid looking bad, get even with and destroy someone not liked, receive undeserved credit and praise, escape the consequences of their actions, receive desired attention, get wanted sympathy, stay out of trouble, not be held personally accountable, and to get something they want.
When one lies, he will lose the trust of close friends and advisers. He may even send some out to speak what he says is the truth, knowing the whole time it was a lie. Lying destroys relationships between friends and in families, and lying contributes to continued immaturity. Some get to where they even begin to believe the lies they have told. It is sad when lying becomes a terrible habit, and people are blinded to the truth.
God’s Word says the devil “is a liar, and the father of lies… you have not lied to men, but to God… the Lord hates a lying tongue… you shall not lie about your neighbor… you have made this people trust a lie… they exchanged the truth of God for a lie… do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices… it is impossible for God to lie… it is better to be poor than a liar.”
Liars will not go to Heaven (Revelation 21:8; 22:15). Are there still Pinocchio’s around?
Love Not The World
Lot is an interesting figure in the Old Testament. Known as the nephew of the “Friend of God,” he willingly left his home in Ur and shared in the blessings of Abraham. He eventually became so wealthy that he and Abraham had to separate themselves. However, it is at this point that we see his nature was different than Abraham’s.
Abraham always let the Lord choose his way. Lot, himself, chose the fertile plain and was soon drawn to the big city of Sodom. It did not take long for Lot to be drawn into the problems of big city living. He was carried away into captivity and almost lost all of his possessions and his life. Only Abraham’s heroic efforts saved him. Yet, even after this, Lot went back to the same city. As Christians, we are called to leave this world and dwell in the Lord’s kingdom, but sometimes our complacency causes us to return to the city and put our minds on the things of this world rather than having faith in God. Because of Sodom’s sin, God finally decided to destroy the city. The angels found Lot at the city gate. In contrast to the godly man of Psalm 1, Lot was walking in the counsel of Sodom, standing in their way and was now sitting in their seat. Although Lot never seems to have shared in their sins, he tolerated them, and because of this, he lacked the influence to save anyone from the city. Even his sons-in-law thought he was just joking when he warned them.
As morning approached, the angels warned Lot to flee, yet he hesitated. Lot knew what was coming, so what held sway over this man? Lot was entrenched in his possessions and his environment. In an act of mercy, the angels took Lot and his family by the hand and dragged them out of the city. The angels, then, warned them to run, but Lot responded in a strange way. “Oh no my Lord! There is a city nearby, just a small one.” You see, Lot still wanted to live in a city. Although the Lord had just saved Lot, he was still unwilling to change. Are we really all that different from Lot? This world is full of sin, and we are warned that our world will soon be destroyed. However, too often, we hesitate. God tells us to flee the things of the world, but we say, “Oh no my Lord! Let us go only so far and stay where we are comfortable.” We want to follow Christ, but we don’t want to change our lifestyle. We want to have a godly family, but we still want to allow our kids to go to places they shouldn’t go. “Oh Lord we want to follow you, but only so far!” What will it take to convince us? How can we obtain the attitude of Abraham, that of a sojourner, instead of following in the footsteps of Lot?
Lot was saved from the hellfire of Sodom, but he lost his wife to unbelief, and his daughters soon showed that they, too, were influenced by the wicked city. Our last glimpse of Lot finds him living in a cave in the mountains. What a disappointment! From the grandeur of the Promised Land with Abraham, Lot proceeded to the exile of a cave. Abraham looked for a city with foundations, whose architect and builder was God. Lot looked for the city with monetary glitter, whose destiny was fire and destruction. The misery of Lot should convince us to hold our possessions loosely and be ready to follow God. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).