Telling lies is a common issue that many Christians struggle with. As followers of Christ, we are called to be people of truth and honesty. Yet the temptation to bend the truth or withhold information is often strong. What guidance does the Bible provide when it comes to truth-telling? There is much biblical wisdom to guide us.
Honesty and integrity are characteristics that God desires for His people. Scripture speaks strongly against lying and deceitfulness which harm others and break trust. At the same time, the Bible offers grace and redemption when we confess our dishonesty.
As we seek to follow Christ’s example, we must cling to the truth in every area of life. This post will explore what the Bible teaches about lying and deception so that we can live in freedom and authenticity.
- Lying is strongly condemned throughout Scripture as being incompatible with God’s character of truthfulness.
- God hates and detests lying and will judge unrepentant liars.
- Satan is the father of lies, but Jesus came to reveal truth and set us free.
- We must speak truthfully with our neighbor who depends on our honesty.
- Even “little white lies” are unhealthy and can become habitual.
- God graciously offers forgiveness when we confess our lies and seek to change.
- The Holy Spirit enables us to speak truth even when it is difficult.
- Honesty reflects the new creation we have become in Christ.
The Character of God
In order to understand what the Bible says about lying, we must first look at the character of God. At the very core of His being, He is truthful. Numerous passages describe God as the source of all truth:
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19, NIV)
“Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” (Psalm 31:5-8, NIV)
God is truthful, faithful, and reliable. He does not lie or change His promises. He can be completely trusted. Furthermore, He is incapable of speaking anything but the truth.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6, NIV)
God’s people are called to reflect His attributes of truth and honesty. We serve a God of perfect truth, and we are expected to model that character. The Bible expresses how God detests lies and falsehoods which contradict His very nature.
Lying is Sin
Scripture leaves no room for compromise when it comes to lying and deception. Lying is repeatedly condemned throughout the Bible as something God hates.
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:16-19, NIV)
False testimony and perjury are directly contrary to God’s character:
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)
Lying and hypocrisy have no place among God’s people:
“Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3, NIV)
Intentional dishonesty is a sin that needs to be confessed and repented from:
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV)
The Bible’s command is clear – followers of Christ must be committed to speaking the truth. Honesty and integrity should be hallmarks of the believer’s life.
Consequences of Lying
The Bible warns that there are serious consequences for persisting in dishonesty. Lying damages relationships and invites God’s discipline. Unrepentant liars face harsh judgment.
In contrast, living truthfully brings blessing:
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” (Proverbs 12:22, NIV)
“No good comes from a deceitful tongue, only trouble.” (Proverbs 17:20, TLB)
“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” (Psalm 101:7, ESV)
“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars–their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8, NLT)
Such warnings remind us to take truth-telling seriously. The Bible teaches eternal consequences for unrepentant lying and deception.
Satan – Father of Lies
In contrast to God’s truthfulness, the devil is described as the “father of lies.” Jesus confronted the religious leaders, saying:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NIV)
Satan introduced deceit and temptation in the garden of Eden. He is the total opposite of God in character and seeks to distort truth.
As God’s people, we must detach from the lies of the enemy and align ourselves with the truth. Lying and deceit are Satan’s tools. Honesty and integrity reflect the heart of God.
Love and Truth Go Together
According to Scripture, it is not loving to lie, even if the intention seems good. Love and truth go hand in hand. A loving person will be deeply committed to honesty.
Ephesians 4 makes this connection clear:
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” (Ephesians 4:14-15, NLT)
Speaking truth is directly linked to growing in maturity and Christ-likeness. Any form of deceit is incompatible with godly love.
Little White Lies?
Some lies seem small and harmless, but Scripture warns against shrugging off “little white lies.” A small crack can lead to the foundation crumbling. Even half-truths and intentional omissions qualify as lies.
As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of integrity:
“An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.” (Proverbs 14:5, NIV)
“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25, NKJV)
Deception is deception, whether big or small. Allowing embellishments and excuses to slip by unchallenged can lead to erosion of character.
Speaking Truth in Difficulty
Honesty often comes at a price. Being truthful can result in tension, rejection, or hardship. Yet Scripture exhorts us to uphold God’s standards of truth even when it is costly.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV)
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened but revere Christ as Lord.'” (1 Peter 3:14, NIV)
When facing opposition, we can ask God for courage to speak truth with grace. He promises to be with us and help us through difficulty.
Freedom from Lies
Jesus said “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NIV). Living in total honesty and transparency brings great freedom! No more cover-ups, half-truths, or facade. The truth may hurt for a time, but it also cleanses and liberates.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18, NIV)
God redeems our mistakes when we turn to Him in repentance and humility. Through Christ, we can find full forgiveness and walk in freedom. The Spirit empowers us to live honest lives that reflect His light.
“Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” (Psalm 51:6, NIV)
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10, NIV)
Reflecting Christ Through Honesty
As believers, we represent Jesus to the watching world. Our conduct – including truth-telling – makes Christ known.
We are called to reflect Him through lives of integrity:
“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6, NIV)
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NIV)
Speaking truthfully in love demonstrates who God is. It points people to our Savior.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NIV)
Living honestly gives weight and impact to our testimony. Dishonesty contradicts the gospel message we share.
As Christ’s disciples, we are new creations called to truthfulness. We can set an example of godly integrity for others to follow.
In summary, the Bible gives stern warnings about the danger of lying, as well as strong encouragement to speak truth.
- All dishonesty is sin that separates us from God and others.
- Persisting in lies leads to harsh consequences, while truthfulness brings blessing.
- We must align ourselves with God’s character of perfect truth and renounce Satan’s falsehoods.
- Speaking truth expresses love, even when it is difficult.
- Small untruths easily grow into larger compromise and deception.
- Christ liberates us to live authentic, transparent lives free from lies.
- Our integrity and truth-telling set an example that honors God and points people to Him.
The Bible challenges followers of Jesus to a high standard when it comes to honesty. Thankfully, Scripture also offers grace and forgiveness when we stumble. Through the Spirit’s empowerment, we can grow in truthfulness that reflects God’s heart and sets others free. May our words be sincerely spoken and aligned with Christ, who is the Truth.