"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
2 Peter 3:10
Is it Okay for Christians to Lie?
Christopher J. E. Johnson
Published: June 15, 2012

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
-Titus 1:2

My Bible says God is incapable of lying, and He expects us Christians to strive our best to do the same. If we are to follow the Great Commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ and love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then we should strive to tell the truth in ALL matters.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
-Colossians 3:9-10

As Christians, we typically expect the world to lie because Jesus Christ warned us many times not to be deceived, (Mat 24:4) but this article is not focused on what it means to lie as an unbeliever, but what it means for a Christian man or woman to lie. It has taken me so long to write about this topic because I always thought this to be a basic fundamental issue covered thoroughly in the Bible, but I have watched so many Christians lie to others, lie about others, and cause near irrepairable damage to their brethren in Christ, I can no longer ignore this issue because it's become so common; as if the conscience within the Body of Christ on this issue has been seared.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
-1 Timothy 4:1-2

It doesn't make sense why something so fundamental would be such a large problem, but when considering that most mainstream preachers opt for a "cutsy" sermon instead of something substantial, it starts to make perfect sense. If we don't understand the basics, we're not only unable to preach the Gospel as Christ intended, but we have the potential to offend God, harm others, and ourselves. This problem, left unchecked, will cause some to "depart from the faith," and you can't depart from what you did not once have.

In my previous article on Christians keeping their word, we have already established that God hates lies. (Pro 6:16-19) I have been unable to find anything in the Bible God hates more than lies. Most Christians think this is limited to only those who TELL lies, but this is not true.

A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
-Proverbs 17:4

The basic reading of this says those who pay attention, or give regard, to people who tell lies--they themselves are wicked doers, and therefore, also held as accountable as the liar. So it's not just the liar who is wicked, but those put on a mental acceptance of the lies. So when one Christian tells a lie about someone, Christians have a responsibility to speak the truth of the matter and give rebuke to the liar, despite the earthly consequences of doing so.

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
-1 Timothy 2:7

Now don't get the wrong idea, this does not apply to someone who said something out of ignorance. Everyone, at some point in their life, has said or wrote something they were just not aware of, and that can be corrected. But when that person refuses to correct it, that shows a non-repentant heart that rejects the teachings of our Lord.

Next, let's look at some important Scripture on lying:

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
-Proverbs 26:28

Think about it a moment: The Bible says those who lie hate those who are damaged by the lie. One of the requirements we have as a Saved Christian living in this world, and one of the main ways we demonstrate our repentant heart, is by keeping the Great Commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is to love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mat 22:36-40) How is it possible for someone to lie about someone (hating that person afflicted by the lie) and still love his neighbor as himself?

This greatly concerns me for those calling themselves Christians because it's a direct contradiction to everything we know about the Gospel of Christ! It scares me for those who do these things because the repentant heart cannot be demonstrated by such action, and the absence of hatred is required standard protocol for Christianity.

The seriousness of this issue should be portrayed in the logical connection Jesus Christ gives to us. Christians know murder to be wrong, and if someone in your church was murdered, the entire congregation would be up in arms. However, Jesus Christ tell us that hatred is the same as murder (Mat 5:21-22), and we just read the Word of God telling us that someone who lies about others hates those who are damaged by the lie, so lying, in the eyes of the Lord, is the same as murder, but most of the time, in my personal experience, Christians don't even bat an eyelash at lies!

Folks, we all tell lies, and I am NOT saying that Christians will never lie. However, a Christian will REPENT of that lie, and come forward with the truth. A Christian does not tell a lie, and then just mentally accept it as justified because when we lie, we don't just offend others around us, WE OFFEND GOD, and God tells us what He will do with those who lie:

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.
-Psalm 101:5-8

Can you imagine what these lies are doing to us on a spiritual level? As Christians, we need to take this matter as seriously as God does.

Whether it be personal material gain, or creating a false image of oneself in the eyes of others, lies always have a selfish motivation. Even the first lie told, by Satan himself, was intended take glory from God and give it to himself. Giving your word to someone you will do something, and going back on that word, is a lie that has selfish motivation. I've seen Christians tell lies to get someone fired from a job. I've seen Christian preachers stand up in front of a congregation and tell lies to make themselves look good in front of everyone. The lies always seek to serve ourselves, and they always have consequences, especially since we offend our Lord Jesus Christ with each one.
(Many Christians ask if it is OK to lie to protect others, like hiding Jews in WW2; Read "Does God Justify Lies" here at creationliberty.com for more details)

The truth comes from love, so we should always want to tell the truth, no matter what we think of others or how we think situations should be handled. We tell the truth because not only do we love our neighbor, but love our neighbor as ourselves. That means we want the truth, and we Christians should be open to accept Biblical rebuke when we have individually done wrong.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
-Ephesians 4:25

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
-Proverbs 8:6-8

As Christians, we need to understand that God gave men the unique ability of speech. Some people will refer to parrots speaking, but they do not have speech like we do; they simply replicate sounds. For example, gorillas are claimed to be taught sign language, but they do not communicate like we do. Gorillas think, "Human makes sound. If I do this with my hand when human makes sound, I get cookie." That is not communication. Animals are able to recognize patterns, but cannot use communication in speech, art, music, poetry, etc, and pass those things on to the next generation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
-Proverbs 18:21

Jesus Christ, and His apostles, demonstrated that the power of life and death is in the tongue. God is telling us that what we say is VERY important, which is why we're instructed not to be rash with our mouths:

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
-Ecclesiastes 5:2

This does not tell us not to talk, but to be careful about what we say, and ESPECIALLY be careful about what we say before God. But think about it for a moment, is not everything we say said before God? Even the thoughts we keep secret in our hearts?

... for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
-1 Chronicles 28:9

The average Christian reading this article will say they don't lie, or can't recall doing so, but let's look at a common scenario to see if that's true. For many years, I always wondered why I have despised the phrase, "How are you?" I just couldn't figure out why I have always cringed at that phrase, even back with I was a teenager. Today, I understand it, and know why I always thought it to be superficial and fake. Most Christians will walk up to someone and say, "Hi, how are you?" or "How's your family? or "How's work?" and the other Christian will respond "I'm fine," or "The family's fine," or "Work's fine." This is common practice, even though, in most cases, it's not true! The person being asked the question, in their hearts, may be worried about their job, or their children, or their siblings, or something they have to face at school the next day, or problems in their marriage, or personal issues of faith, but instead lie about it and say, "I'm fine," and on the other side, most people who ask "How are you?" don't really want an answer anyway because they want to put forth the false impression that they are genuinely concerned!

I understand we don't always have time, and I understand there is a necessity to be discreet in certain circumstances, but if we are going to ask the question, we should be genuine, and if we're going to answer the question, we should be honest. There's no reaons to lie on either end. When one Christian asks another how they are, the Christian can respond honestly with, "I'm worried about the choices my children are making," or "I'm concerned about some issues in my marriage." We may have very personal issues that are grieving us, and we may not feel comfortable to talk with the Christian asking us about it, but we could schedule a time to sit and talk about it with that Christian, or we can be honest with them by saying, "I have some stuff weighing on my mind, and I don't really know you well enough to share it with you yet," and that puts the honesty responsibility on the other person to show if their concern is genuine. However, what Christians typically do when they're asked these questions is say, "I'm fine," or "My wife and I are fine," and they will repeat this over and over without even realizing it is a lie, and will never be honest until they're signing divorce papers.

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth... For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
-James 3:14-17

If Christians would just start telling the truth, I can clearly see how much we could clean up within the Body of Christ in a very short amount of time. Even when the truth hurts, it still gives a release that someone is acknowledging reality, and that itself is comforting, but the discomfort is in having to face it head on and take action. When we remain docile and ignorant, nothing gets accomplished and the lies continue. When the truth is revealed, and actions are taken, problems are resolved, and it lifts a weight off the shoulders.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
-John 8:32

There are some Christians who do more blatent lying against others, taking advantage of some influence or position they hold within the Body of Christ, knowing that other Christians will believe the lie based on the respect of their position. I cover that type of lying in detail in "Why are Christians Respecters of Persons?" Other Christians will make a promise, giving their word to someone, but then never do it nor follow through at all. I cover that type of lying in detail in "Why Christians Should Keep Their Word" There are many ways Christians lie to themselves, and each other, and it needs to stop immediately by recognition that lying is dreadfully abhorrent to our Lord Jesus Christ in every way and causes massive amounts of damage and contention within the Body of Christ.

Let's start paying attention to what we say and do, and start to honor our Lord Jesus Christ by trembling at His Word:

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
-John 8:42-47

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
-Proverbs 6:16-19

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