Updated: Mar 25, 2019
In the movie Liar Liar the main character, Fletcher, is a pathological liar until his son makes a birthday wish that forces Fletcher to tell the truth for 24 hours.
Suddenly a steady stream of “truths” flow from his mouth that berate, insult, and demean others. I doubt anyone would take this Hollywood definition of “truth” for more than the comedic response it’s seeking, but can you tell the truth without hurting others or being hurt yourself? Definitely, yes.
As we’ve discussed, fear is often at the root of our lying. As young people we feared hurting or angering our mom or dad so we said what we thought they wanted to hear. As adults we continue this line of reasoning by conveying what we think our spouses or friends want to hear. Consequently, we still don’t share our hearts, feelings, or thoughts. While this may not seem like a big deal, underneath, resentment, bitterness, and anger can build up and poison us and our relationships.
So how do we stop?
The first thing to understand is God hates lying1. Regardless of how necessary we may mistakenly think it is, we must ask ourselves, “Should I be doing something God finds abominable?” *
Second, we must realize Satan is recycling old fears—fear of abandonment, fear of inadequacy, and others from our childhood. Think back on the last couple of times you said “A” when you wanted to say “B.” If you had said “B” what would have happened? “My spouse would have gotten mad at me, left me and I’d be all alone.” Really? The consequences we fear are almost always overblown by Satan and would rarely occur if we were obedient to God’s commands. I’m willing to bet your spouse is not the one in ten thousand who’d overreact. More likely, they’d welcome your honesty and feel more secure in the relationship—as long as the truth is conveyed in love.
Third, the last half of Proverbs 29:25 says, “But whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” ** We can have confidence we’re telling the truth in love when we approach situations using the Bible as our guide and God’s Holy Spirit for our power to overcome the fib monster. We must also trust that since God made us with our temperament and likes and dislikes, our opinions, feelings, and thoughts matter. As a result they’re okay to share with others. But first we must trust God.
Lastly, changing a years-long habit won’t happen overnight, so don’t start by walking into your boss and giving him an earful. We want to imitate Jesus not Jim Carey. Begin by confessing your lying habit to God and repenting. Tell your spouse or friend what you’re trying to do. Then start with small “safe” opportunities to stand on the truth.
Jesus said, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” *** Start today walking in trust and truth and giving thanks to God for your truth-telling victories!
We’ll finish our look at lying by addressing the “Does this outfit make me look fat?” type questions.
* Proverbs 6:17 ** Proverbs 29:25, New International Version. *** Matthew 5:37, New King James Version