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What Does the Bible Say about Lying?

What Does the Bible Say about Lying?

Truth is a central part of the Christian faith. We are to be truth-seekers, truth-tellers, and truth-believers. The opposite of truth is a lie. A lie is an untrue statement intended to deceive. As Christ-followers, we are called to follow Jesus, who is described as the way, truth, and the life (John 14:6). Truth is central to our quest to follow and honor God.

The enemy of our souls is described as the "father of lies" (John 8:44). The Devil pulls us away from Jesus by distorting our realities in order to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. When our lives are stuck in the mire of falsehoods, we cannot experience all of who God is. We need the truth of the gospel at work in our lives to live as free people. Freedom and the piercing power of God's truth go hand in hand.

If truth is a fundamental part of who God is, then lying is naturally something he is against. He desires us to see the world clearly, not trapped by wrong thinking and the brokenness that comes when falsehoods taint our relationships. Let's explore more of what God's Word says about lying.

What Does the Bible Say about Liars?

The Bible uses strong language around God's stance on lying. Proverbs 6:16-19 says, "There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers." A lying tongue is something that God hates! There is little wiggle room to debate how God feels about lying with language that is so black and white.

God's Word goes even further to emphasize how lying is something that God is against. Psalm 101:7 says, "No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes." Deceit keeps us from being a part of God's house. Honest living is central to being part of God's eternal family.

Ultimately truth is so important because God cares most about the state of our hearts. If we are willing to deceive for our gain, then there is a problem with our hearts. Matthew 15:18-20 says, "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone." God wants to set us free from the evil that keeps us chained up so we can live free lives.

How Do You Deal with Someone Who Lies to You?

Dealing with people who are struggling to be honest is hard. Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and once that is broken, it takes a lot of effort to rebuild it. The Bible helps us navigate these difficult circumstances.

Romans 12:17-21 says, "Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

We can only be held responsible for our own actions. As much as it relies on us, we are to live in peace with all. That can mean offering forgiveness, but it can also mean knowing when to place healthy boundaries if we face unhealthy relationships. We have to do what we can to overcome evil with good. That does not mean we have to constantly open every part of our lives.

1 Corinthians 13, known as the "love passage," teaches us what love should look like. It tells us that real love protects. This means we have to draw lines around our spouses, children, close friends, and so on that keep them safe and protected. We do what we can to live in peace, but we are also called to love by protecting our people. 

What Does the Bible Say about Lying to Yourself?

God cares about the state of our minds and hearts. We cannot experience God's freedom without breaking through the lies that corrupt our thinking. Lying to ourselves about our circumstances, sin, or about what we know to be the truth is just another way we are held back from walking in the fullness of God's freedom.

James 4:17 says, "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." When we know what God's best is for our lives and fail to act, we are missing out on God's best for our lives. God has given us free will, so we are responsible for our own choices and actions. When we choose to live contrary to God's way, we cannot experience all God has for us.

2 Timothy 4:3 says, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions." Building our lives on the truth of the Bible rather than on ideas that suit our own desires is so important. We have to be open to allowing the Word of God to challenge us instead of changing what it says in order to match our preferred worldview.

Consequences of Lying in the Bible

While God offers his abundant grace and forgiveness for all of our missteps, that does not mean that there are no consequences for our actions.

Proverbs 19:5  says, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape." Lying comes with consequences. The most natural and obvious one is that it breaks trust with those we are in a relationship with. It is hard and often heartbreaking work when we have to repair the bridges that get burned when we choose to deceive the people around us.

None of the brokenness we all have to work through in our lives is too great for God to repair. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." If you have struggled with telling the truth or are navigating a situation where trust has been broken, we have the hope of God's miraculous restorative power to lean on. 

God is faithful to make a straight path for us when we trust in him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Surrender your thinking, relationships, and worldview to him. Allow him to bring freedom from deceit through the gentle power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/ChesiireCat

Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.