By: G. J. Fortier
“You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, Knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 (NIV)
“Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.” Leviticus 19:11 (NIV)
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” Proverbs 12:22 (NIV)
“Global warming” or “climate change” as the alarmists (democrats) refer to the “emergency” that will destroy the planet “in twelve years” is the biggest lie that’s been perpetrated on humanity since the falsehood that Satan told Eve in Genesis 3:4-5. The Bible is replete with reasons and examples why lying is a very bad thing. But when it comes to the every-day of living life, the line between truth and deception can blur quite a bit.
Remember the time that your wife/girlfriend asked if a certain garment made her nether regions look fat? What about that pot roast that your ten-year-old granddaughter lovingly prepared in the crock-pot turned out to be so dry that you could re-sole your work boots with it? And then there was the time that your seven-year-old, beaming with pride, brought you the painting that he created for you in art class. “Of course, it’s an elephant,” you agreed even though your initial thought was that it resembled an ostrich … with an exceptionally long beak and webbed feet.
In life, there are and will continue to be times when you must consider how your words will affect those that you love. So, is it against the rules to tell that little white lie to save the feelings of someone whose sensitive nature might suffer immeasurably when told the truth? What about the times that you “exaggerate” the consequences of some action—or inaction—in order to discourage the people around you from making what you consider to be a mistake or may even be detrimental to their health?
The time that you told your nephew that if he didn’t eat all his green beans, one of his legs would grow longer than the other and begin to glow green when he went to bed that night? Yes, that actually happened to me—when I was 4—and no, I never forgot.
I think you’ll agree that it’s a fine line that can easily get us in trouble when we choose to deceive people. After all, in these scenarios, you personally wouldn’t stand to gain anything, right?
But then, there’s this notorious example:
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So, they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So, the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up to them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) Joshua 2:1-6 (NIV)
Clearly, Rahab lied, and she received something for that lie. But the Bible tells us that the Lord honored her and her family for the deed. So, what we can extrapolate from this is that the consequences of deceiving people lies solely in our intentions. We don’t want to hurt our significant other’s feelings by being truthful about the fact that many of us begin to—expand—as we get older. We don’t want to discourage our granddaughter from further attempts at cooking by dashing her hopes and telling her that her first attempt was a little tough on our jaw muscles. We hope that, if his talent never improves, your son will learn on his own, without any help from you, that his artwork stinks. And we were only thinking about his health and well-being when you encouraged your nephew to eat well-balanced meals.
But then there are times when we say and even do things that you may think are encouraging, or at the very least not harmful, that might backfire on us because of our motivation.
When Tom told his friends that they couldn’t white-wash the fence because they wouldn’t do it right. Tom just wanted to get out of doing the work himself. Or when Aunt Bea made all those pickles for the county fair that tasted like kerosene and Andy, Barney and Opie hid the truth from her so she wouldn’t get her feelings hurt. We never saw the end result in the show, but we all know that at some point Bea learned the truth—and realized that Andy lied to her. Or maybe you’ve even made up a story about someone wanting to purchase something that a friend of yours created, and you bought one to massage their ego—to make them feel good about themselves—because you needed something from the creative person that was more important, more meaningful to you.
Some of these people will never know the truth. Many of them will find out how insincere you were eventually—but a tiny few will see right through your ruse and immediately lose respect for you.
A really, really important question that you have to ask yourself when you deceive people is, “Do I, personally, stand to gain anything from it?” Because, if you do, you really need to examine your motives.
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.