Scripture: Jeremiah 9:2-14
“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 9:3, NLT).
All sin involves a lie, that is, that we can say and do what we want without repercussions. Much like Pinocchio’s growing nose, lying has a sinful progression. It begins when people refuse to stand up for the truth (v.3). Family members use lies to take advantage of each other (v.4). Friends slander one another (v.4) and defraud each other (v.5). People scheme against their neighbors while speaking friendly words (v.8). They become “practiced” at telling lies to the extent they no longer acknowledge God (v.6). The truth of God is abandoned, and his instructions are not obeyed (v.13).
David, in his prayer of repentance, writes that God desires truth in our inmost being. Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is clear that true worshipers worship in spirit and truth. The apostle Paul warns us to stop telling lies and tell our neighbors the truth. So why is lying so difficult to completely overcome? In what way, could God possibly be served by my playing fast and loose with the truth? As Paul would say, “God forbid”–it’s not possible. Perhaps lies– exaggerations, omissions, excuses, avoidance of truth–come about because of unbelief. Do I really believe that God has redeemed me, taken away my sin and guilt, made me righteous, and is pleased with me? If I don’t, I’m more vulnerable to lying to make myself appear better than I am to myself, to others, and to God. When I cling to truth of His love for me, it’s okay to appear naïve, foolish, ignorant, or incompetent in others’ eyes. Even my sin has a remedy; admitting, apologizing, and seeking forgiveness for it strengthen my relationship with God and others.
Telling others, “I’m a sinner saved by grace,” may be the most life-transforming truth I can share.
Father, forgive my unbelief. Fill me instead with confidence in your redeeming love. Search me and know my heart. Purge me of my lies. Cause truth to dwell in my inmost being. Lead me away from the temptation of lying. Draw me to your Son, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.