Sunday, February 8, 2009
If you ask almost anyone to list the things that they hate, 'liars' will inevitably be near the top. A funny thing, since every single one of us has lied, and continue to lie at times. Not always about big things, but often in small ways that involve both actual words that come from our mouths, or actions that we take or do not take. We do it in ways that we ourselves might not define as a 'lie' but that others most certainly would. You see, most of us equate a lie with intent. As long as we did not actually intend to mislead someone maliciously then it wasn't really lying. Maybe a 'mistake', or an 'exaggeration', or we were being 'nice' to someone by not hurting their feelings in telling them the cold, hard truth. Perhaps we were simply balancing two bad outcomes and deciding that by telling a 'little white lie' (in our minds) we would spare ourselves and possibly others a worse outcome than would occur by telling the truth. Lying does not in actuality go to 'intent', instead being defined as an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker. Call it whatever you want, defend it however you want - we are all liars. It is probably one of the reasons that we hate liars so much. When we tell a lie ourselves we understand what we are doing at our very core. That guilt feeling is hard-wired into us as a part of our humanity. Some sense those feelings of guilt more than others. There are some who take their lies very much to heart and truly hate them. These people are often making sincere apologies and trying to stay away from occassions where they are put in compromising positions that might have called for them to lie in the past. There are others who lie with impugnity, who seem to tell lies almost as well and as often as they breathe. These are the people to whom the old joke was directed: "How do you know that she is lying? Her lips are moving." Many of these people lie even to themselves, simply refusing to examine their lives and face the truth. We hate when we catch someone in a lie, and that is especially true the closer that person is to us in relationship. From the small to the large lies, no one likes to feel deceived by the very people on whom they are counting the most. Have you ever told your parents that you were going one place, one that they would likely approve of, when you knew that you were actually going to another place, one that they would likely disapprove? How about your spouse in the same question? Have you ever told your boss that you were working hard on some project that you had not even started, or had pushed to the side to pay closer attention to something that was of more interest to you? Have you ever taken or accepted credit for something that you did not do yourself, or that you had little hand in creating? Have you ever cheated on your spouse or significant other? Ever cheated on a test or on your taxes? All are lies in and of themselves which often require further and further lying in order to cover them up. Like everyone else, I have lied during the course of my life so many times that it would be impossible to count or list them all. But I do remember most of my worst lies. They often created situations, or were created by situations, that led me to some of the worst episodes in what has been an overall happy, fulfilled life. That is the 'lie' of the lie. We think that things will turn out better if we lie when in actuality the lie only makes the situation worse. If we all truly examine our lives with honesty we will find that despite the fact that we all hate liars, we are all liars ourselves, at least in the idea that we have told lies at times and will do so again under what we consider appropriate circumstances. As Proverbs 6:17 tells us, God hates liars as well. The first lie that we know of occurs in the garden of Eden, and is told by the greatest liar of all. Satan comes to Eve in the garden and asks if God has told she and Adam not to eat from any of the trees there. Eve replies that God has only told them to not eat from a certain tree, that they should not eat from or even touch this tree, lest they die. Satan then tells that first lie, assuring Eve that "Surely you will not die! For God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." As with many lies, the evil one couches his lie with a piece of truth. By eating from the tree, Eve and subsequently Adam do indeed have their eyes opened and learn good and evil. But they learn it by it's very manifestation in their disobedience to God, in their listening to the deception of the snake. God had created Adam in His own likeness, had given him Eve as his companion, and had placed them in a beautiful, peaceful garden where He fellowshiped with them personally. Their disobedience to the one simple rule that He had layed down for them created the very evil that persists to this day. It is the cause of all of the lies that every one of us has ever told. God hates liars because He knows that in lying we are choosing ourselves and our will over His will. We are placing what we want above what He wants, and it is that very ego-driven decision that is at the heart of all the ills of humanity. Lies separate us from fellowship with God, and there is simply nothing that He wants more than that fellowship, that intimate relationship with each of us. If you are currently actively participating in a lying situation, you must end it and do all that you can to make ammends and ensure that it does not recur. We all need to examine, rebuke, rehabilitate, and try in the future to keep tamed our lying tongues. There is nothing that God hates more.