What Happens to a Nation When its Government Lies?

Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

SEE ALSO: When to Disobey the Government

The chaos in our government is breaking my heart. I wonder if any politician is righteous and honest. It seems like no one tells the truth any more. Hardly anyone will stand up and say, "I was wrong. I did it."

Our present culture reminds me of Aaron's behavior when Moses rebuked him for making the golden calf: "Don't blame me," Aaron said, "All I did was throw some gold in the fire and out jumped this calf." 

SEE ALSO: 12 Factors That are Causing Our Nation to Crumble

What happens to a nation when its governmental leaders lie and can't be trusted?

Sincerely, Ray

SEE ALSO: Are There Really Demons That Rule over Nations?


Dear Ray,

You’ve heard of putting a spin on things. Why don’t we call it what it really is: propaganda. Propaganda is when someone takes facts and twists them for their own best interest.

To illustrate, I’m going to use Paul Joseph Goebbels as an example. He used propaganda as a tool to massacre many.

Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. With his propaganda-spin he convinced millions of Germans that the Aryan race was superior to all others. He deluded millions into believing that Jews and gypsies were inferior and ought to be exterminated. Six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

Please don’t misunderstand me! No American politician comes close to the dastardly Goebbels. 

Nevertheless, he represents better than anyone else the ultimate power of spinning the facts.

The Congressional approval rating is hovering in the teens. One survey shows that 60 percent of Americans no longer believe that politicians are truthful about most issues.

Propaganda is not new. We might say that every government, especially autocratic dictators, engage in the process to one degree or another. Some of the earliest recorded propaganda was exercised by the autocratic Egyptian rulers which date back to 3000 BC.

God has a lot to say about kings and rulers, their behavior, their integrity, and the resulting impact on the people they rule. He gives clear advice regarding how governments should rule—and the pitfalls they should avoid.

Reading the Bible and employing its guidelines would be great for any nation. The people would love their government.

When a government is just, honest, and truthful, its citizens are safe, secure, and prosper.

When a government is unjust, dishonest, and tells lies, its citizens are insecure, afraid, neglected, and suffering. A government that is wicked may ultimately lead to rebellion and anarchy.

God says that government should be just and fair for all of its constituents. No group should get special advantages over another group. Think about our income tax appropriations. We hear of people who are rich enough to utilize loopholes to end up paying little or no taxes at all. That is not fair.

“Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity? No, in your heart you devise injustice, And your hands mete out violence on the earth” (Psalm 58:1-2).

Our Constitution is careful to have a system of checks and balances in place that keeps any one individual, or small group of people, from taking control of the government. I’ve been in many countries where rulers put their picture on every wall and billboard in sight to remind the people who is really in charge. These governmental leaders get rich and powerful at the expense of the people.

“Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people” (Proverb 28:15).

One sign of a failing government is rebellion. All wise leaders use wisdom and integrity to meet the needs of its people. Much rebellion occurs when people think that they’ve been unjustly treated.

“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order” (Proverb 28:2).

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant” (Romans 13: 1-4).

“By justice a king gives a country stability” (Proverb 29:4).

People feel cheated when special interest groups and lobbyists use money to get what they want. It’s not fair.

“… but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down” (Proverb 29:4).

American government is not perfect. However, it is an outstanding example of a government meeting the needs of its people.

When natural disaster occurs, Americans unite to provide money and help to those who’ve been hurt.

We allocate millions of dollars to help the poor and disenfranchised.

The civil rights movement has a long way to go; however, it’s gone a long way in promoting healthy race relations.

In the midst of troubled times, our American government has gone a long way toward promoting unity and wholeness throughout our country.

“The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever" (Proverbs 29:14).

We’ve got to be on our toes. Several historical events illustrate leaders who got caught in their lies.

Richard Nixon denied his illegal involvement in the Watergate fiasco. Then the recordings surfaced.

Lyndon Johnson told America that the North Vietnamese attacked us first in the Gulf of Tonkin. That was an a lie and we entered full bore into the Vietnam war. As a result, over 50,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese lost their lives in a no-win war.

The US consulate in Benghazi was attacked on September 11, 2012. Several US diplomats were killed. Immediately, the US Government told us that the riot was instigated by a YouTube video mocking Islam. It took five days before the State Department finally confessed that they knew all along that it was a well-planned terrorist attack. Even the Secretary of State feigned any knowledge of the actual truth. It is now known that they were deceiving the American people to save face because they did not send reinforcements when the diplomats were screaming for help.

As Christians we have to stand in concert, in prayer. 

Here’s what God has to say about lying leaders:

"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness" (Proverbs 16:12).

"If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked" (Proverbs 29:12).

"Mercy and truth preserve the king" (Proverbs 20:28).

“The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever" (Proverbs 29:14).

Of course, reading the signs makes me concerned for America. I can't think of any valid reason for Homeland Security to buy 1.2 billion bullets, hundreds of tanks, personnel carriers, and artillery. The official explanation was, "in case of civil unrest." We all know what can happen when the government has all the guns and bullets and the people have neither.

I used to think that America would be attacked and defeated from without. This is how God would judge America. I now know better. God's judgment is even now at work, coming from the inside. God's judgment is that our nation will rot out from within (Romans 1:18-32). 

It is time we return to our roots. It is the Lord God Jehovah alone who can bring truth, mercy, justice, and peace to our country.

When the Supreme Court removed the 10 Commandments from our schools, they failed to put anything in its place. So basic issues of values and morality were no longer taught in our schools. We see the results in misguided ethics and the loss of values of absolute truth.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” (Psalm 33:12-22).

It’s time that we return to the values and morals of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

I remember during one hurricane, a television reporter was describing a scene of people lined up waiting to buy gasoline generators at a hardware store in case their power went out. It was obvious that more people were in line than there were generators available.

Suddenly a man from the back of the line walked to the front and pushed a man out of line and took his place. A fight broke out.

I thought to myself, "This is America. We hold together in times of emergency. We don't fight each other.” The fight escalated into a riot. Police were called in to restore order. I reminded myself that in times of need, many people will do whatever it takes to survive--even Americans. 

My prayer is that one day, our beloved country will repent and return to Christ. Then we will have one Ruler, a righteous King. Thank God that the King is coming soon.


Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/stevanovicigor

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