Zechariah 8 – Speak the truth to one another, execute justice with truth for peace. Perjury is lying after promising to tell the truth. God cares about truth and he expects people to tell the truth.
These days we can google things and find anyone’s opinion about what is true. They don’t all agree, so in some ways, it seems like we’re more confused than ever!
Failure to know and live in truth is more complex than deciding what to do about a particular issue. No one knows everything, we are not God. Some people intentionally deny that something is true even though they know that something is true. Perhaps it serves their purposes, or maybe it’s hard to change their beliefs or behavior about something.
The Bible has a lot to say about truth.
So, what is truth? A statement is true if it agrees with reality, if it agrees with the facts and the way something really is.
Truth is that which is consistent with the mind and being of God. It is the expression of God. To say that God is true is to say that He is faithful and dependable and trustworthy. A true statement, and an honest person are both dependable and trustworthy.
Truth & God the Father
Numbers 23 – The account of Baalam being asked to curse God’s people. He says that “God is not a man that He should lie.”
Romans 2 & 3 – Paul says that the Jews have failed to keep the law and have blasphemed the name of God among the Gentiles. They have caused the Gentiles to be contemptuous of God. Let God be true though every man be found a liar.
Titus 1 – Paul says he was called by God to speak the truth that is according to godliness. Truth that corresponds and results in godly attitudes in life. The truth that Paul is preaching is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 6 – God’s promises to Abraham will be fulfilled because it is impossible for God to lie. This is the reason we can have hope, and it is the reason that we should latch onto God and the resulting hope.
Truth & Jesus the Son
John 1 – The truth was embodied in Christ. Full of grace and truth. The law was given through Moses, grace and truth were realized through Christ. Jesus spoke truth, He lived truth, He did truth.
John 14:6 – Jesus is the way, the truth is the reality, Jesus knows what is real and what is true. He knows everything about everything. He forgets nothing that He knows. He knows everything about you, and everyone, and everything. Jesus is life, life that is free from corruption, it is a quality of life.
John 18 – Jesus said that everyone who hears the truth hears His voice. We can’t really hear the voice of God, the voice of Jesus, the voice of the Holy Spirit unless we are committed to the truth.
We can feel very alone in life and don’t know what to do. The reality is that Jesus knows us, He knows what is going on, He doesn’t forget anything. Sometimes we can get so scared that we forget to stop and pray and ask God to show us what He knows is true.
Although Jesus always told the truth, one thing we see in the Gospels is that Jesus didn’t always tell them everything that He knew to be true. He didn’t overwhelm people with a ton of words.
Honesty and truth-telling doesn’t require being brutal or being brutally honest and saying everything that you know or suspect. Is it helpful? You can destroy people by doing this. Instead of just telling people things maybe we should engage in a conversation about what they are experiencing.
Truth & The Holy Spirit
Jesus said that He would not leave His followers alone. He would send a comforter, a Spirit to guide and lead.
The Holy Spirit does not reveal things to us that are different than what Jesus said, or that the Bible says.
Genesis 3 – The first series of lies recorded in the Bible. The serpent said “has God really said you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the garden?” Technically Satan’s question wasn’t necessarily a lie, but it was designed to get Eve to believe something that wasn’t true about God. It was to raise doubt in her mind about the validity of what God had said.
One thing that we can say about lying, it has causes (there are reasons people lie). Lying also has consequences, there are results that occur when we lie.
Sarah laughed when the Angel of the Lord told her that she was going to have a son. When she was asked about it, she was afraid and said, “no, I didn’t laugh.”
Genesis 12 – Abraham also lied about Sarah being his wife, he was afraid that someone might kill him so that they could have his wife, he did this twice.
Sometimes we decide what is true before we really know what is true.
Acts 4 – The story of Ananias and Sapphira show us the importance of telling the truth.
John 17 – Sanctify them in and through the truth. God’s Word is truth. Set them apart from evil.
Ephesians 4 – Speak the truth in love. We become more Christ-like as we speak the truth to one another, as we affirm the truth. Truth is the basis for reality, the basis for growth.
Romans 1:18 – The Gentiles by their unrighteousness surpassed the truth. Unrighteous living surpasses the truth. Unrighteous living results in lack of truth. What people believe is true is partly the result of the way that they live.
John 8 – There is freedom in knowing what is true if we affirm and embrace it. Many people lie because they think it will give them more control and freedom. Their lies become a heavy weight.
1 John 1:5 – We can’t have fellowship with God if we walk in darkness and lie. If we walk in the light we have we are being forgiven and cleansed. If we confess, God is faithful to forgive us. If we lie that we do not sin we are deceiving ourselves.
What are the motives and causes of untruthfulness?
- To promote themselves.
- To protect themselves. Fear of what will happen if I am truthful?
- The need to fit reality to what we want or believe it should be.
- What feels good? Will this make me feel good?
There is a challenge here, our understanding of truth is based on our experience. No two people have experienced the same thing. This makes it important to actually listen when someone is talking instead of pondering how we are going to defeat their point of view when they finally get done talking. Just because we don’t agree on something doesn’t mean that either of us is necessarily lying.
“It feels to me” are usually not so much intentionally chosen lies, they are often a result of painful experiences.
Honestly and truthfulness do not require perfection. Many people are really distraught about the very possibility that they’ve lied. Sometimes people need help to recognize that they are lying… sometimes they need help to recognize that they are not lying.
Truth and its Results
Ephesians 4 – Truth is the basis of a stable and trusting relationship. When lying is present people struggle to trust. Don’t lie to anyone, but especially to those who are close to you, that you belong to. People who love and trust each other tell each other the truth.
People who are dishonest often demand that people agree with their reality. Eventually people don’t want to be controlled by a liar and they no longer want to be friends who are forcing them to listen to their lies, that they are being controlled into this.
People who lie begin to believe their lies.
Lies require maintenance. You have to remember what you said. Lies keep us from addressing the real issue. Not only do we have to maintain the lies, they also keep us from working on the real issues and growing.
Lying is stressful and results in anxiety. Lying can result in a lack of sleep and depression and security and guilt and shame. Lying can result in feeling alone and misunderstood.
How to be Delivered from Lying
First we have to acknowledge that lying is sin. If we lie we need to recognize that we’ve lied, and repent. This is difficult especially because people who lie also believe their own lies.
It can be helpful to evaluate our own speech. What is our speech like? What kind of lies do I tell? There are lies of omission (not saying the truth when someone asks). There are lies of implication, subtlety, suggestion. Then there are things that are just false. It can help to clarify what kind of speech we have.
If a person can become aware of what is going on inside of them when they are lying or are tempted to lie, it can be helpful on the road to deliverance.
People who lie need help from others. We need help with our sins. We need Jesus. We need the help of others.
At every stage it is important for a person to give God permission to do what He needs to.