The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. Proverbs 12:22
I miss the wholesome, old TV shows we use to watch! Most of us are familiar with “The Andy Griffith Show” that aired for so many years, with Andy Taylor, Opie, Aunt Bea, and Barney Fife! If you watched, you may remember the episode in which Opie teaches his dad a lesson about the importance of honesty in adults, as well as in kids!
Andy and Barney had been asked by the Mayberry Town Council to sell the rusty, old historic cannon that had been a part of the town for so many years. After hitching it up to the squad car and pulling it through town with no takers, Andy conveniently comes up with a story about how it was taken up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt, and he gets a hefty price from an antique salesman.
Opie then followed his dad’s “horse trading” lesson with a friend and traded a cufflink that he said came from George Washington’s uniform for a pair of roller skates! When Andy found out, he was furious with Opie and began to scold him. Opie reminded his dad that he was just repeating what he had seen him do and that maybe they both had broken the golden rule! I can still see the look on Andy’s face! Of course, the story ends, as it should, with Andy making amends with the dealer for a fairer price and showing Opie that “honesty is always the best policy.”
In our society today, it seems as if there is no longer a need for teaching moral lessons such as this one. Truth and integrity are no longer cherished and honored as important values to have. For many individuals, lying seems to come so easily without any remorse or shame, and it appears to have become much more acceptable.
Yet, if the truth be known, we have probably all “fibbed” on occasion. It’s easy to convince ourselves that it is permissible to do so if it’s just a little one that really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things – it won’t hurt the individual, and it might even make them feel better than if they knew the truth. But yet, when we do “fib”, (I like that word much better than lying!) we have to admit that it probably does give us a little stab of consciousness and shame.
We also realize how much damage can be done to our trust in another when someone is dishonest with us. And the difficult part is, we may see and know of their deceit. We can question the person, but once the words are spoken, it’s too late. The damage is done. We just have to accept that this individual didn’t want us to know the truth, or they didn’t think we would like hearing it. Or maybe they were trying to protect us or themselves by telling us a falsehood, but whatever the reason, the harm is done to our trust and sometimes, even to the relationship.
Here are some interesting results of a recent survey of 1000 people who were questioned about their honesty:
91% lie routinely about matters they consider trivial.
36% lie about important matters.
86% regularly lie to their parents. (Wonder what age group these participants were!)
75% regularly lie to their friends.
73% lie to their siblings.
69% lie to their spouses. (Incredible!)
Are these not shocking statistics? How many lies have been told that have destroyed lives, caused pain and feelings of betrayal, and have caused many to lose trust in the very ones they loved and believed would never let them down?
In the 1st verse above, wise King Solomon wrote in Proverbs that “God delights in the truth”. He is reminding us as believers that we must speak truthfully to one another and not deceive each other. Lying is diametrically opposed to the very nature of God and to the nature of the relationships He desires for us to have with each other.
In fact, Titus 1:2 tells us that God is not capable of lying, and we know He wants us to aspire to have His loving nature. He calls us to live righteous lives in faithfulness to Him. He desires that we be loving, kind, and truthful to each other and live lives of integrity and honor. May we be more trustworthy individuals, worthy of His love and grace.
Our heavenly Father, may we be the individuals you made us to be – honest, trustworthy, and dependable. For if we truly love others, how can we lie or be deceitful in our relationships? What pain we know it can cause. Help us to be more loving, kind, and gracious with each other. In your most holy name we pray. Amen