Why We Are Tempted To Lie

I am speaking this weekend in Miami, Florida, at Calvary Chapel Kendall, where my friend, Pedro Garcia, is pastor. They are celebrating their tenth anniversary as a church, and I will speak at all of their weekend services.

For more on that, click here.

Why do we lie?

Yesterday on my blog, I raised the question, “Why do we lie?” We know that it’s wrong, so why do we do it?

Often, it’s because we have been caught doing something wrong.

An article from the Washington Post Magazine reported that “People lie 92% of the time to save face, and 98% to keep from offending someone else.”

It’s not always easy to tell the truth.

We have all been faced with those situations when telling the truth is not easy. When the wife (or any girl) asks the man, “Honey, do I look fat in this?”

When you are a guest in someone’s home, and the meal was horrible, they ask you, “How was it?” And you have to scramble to say, “I have never eaten anything like that in my life!”

Or maybe someone sings and does horribly, but then asks, “How was it?” We try not to state the obvious and yet not lie outwardly, like, “It was one of the most fascinating performances I have ever heard. Your voice was distinct and stood out from all the rest.”

Then there are those little white lies that lead to bigger ones:

  • Your child answers the phone, and you tell the kids to say, “I’m not home,” when you really are.
  • You say, “I forgot,” when you really didn’t
  • Or “It’s good to see you,” when it isn’t
  • Or “I love your outfit,” when you really hate it
  • Or “The check’s in the mail,” when it isn’t
  • Or “I was just getting ready to call you,” when you weren’t
  • Or “I had no idea,” when you did
  • Or “I’ll be praying for you,” or even worse, “I have been praying for you,” when you haven’t

Now, you might say “I never lie, ever!” Maybe you do more than you think.

How so?

1. Gossip and backbiting.

Gossip topples governments, wrecks marriages, ruins careers, and destroys reputations. It causes nightmares, spawns suspicion, and generates grief.

Scripture tells us, “A gossip tells secrets, so don’t hang around with someone who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19 NLT).

There are certain people who I know can keep a confidence. There are others I know who, if I say, “Don’t tell anyone,” it will be on CNN that night!

The problem is that a gossip tells only half a truth, then spins it and mixes it with a lie.

Maybe you are like the guy who said, “I will never repeat gossip, so please listen carefully the first time!”

Have you heard the latest?

Gossip often veils itself in seemingly acceptable forms, such as:

  • Have you heard?
  • Did you know?
  • I don’t know if I believe it’s true, but I heard that . . .
  • I wouldn’t tell you, but I know it won’t go any further . . .

We can even rationalize the sin of gossip as a Christian and say, “I am telling you this so you can pray for them.”

Now, it is not wrong to convey accurate information. But the question is, are you sure that it’s true? Have you checked your facts? Have you gone to the person and confirmed it?

More on ways that we lie tomorrow.

One thought on “Why We Are Tempted To Lie”

  1. Ray Fleming says:

    Pastor Greg,

    We are surrounded by “lies” every day in my profession. It is far easier to pinpoint those who are telling the truth, than the majority of the rest. Such is life here on earth…

    my focus has been strictly looking in the mirror to see if I have been honest. I cant change the actions of others, but I am not held accountable for them — just for me. The more I learn, the more inward focused I have become… less critical of others and more about my own personal behavior and actions.

    Thanks for this post — it scrapes us; but we all need it. God Bless

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