1994 ( S. Carolina ): Susan Smith claimed that her children had been taken when she was car-jacked by a “black man.” In truth, she had drowned her two sons, ages fourteen months and three years. The motive evidently was to continue a relationship with her boyfriend who didn’t want the burden of children.
2004 ( Utah ): Mark Hacking was married to Lori Hacking. They had been married for five years. They had been an item for ten years. He was twenty-eight; she was twenty-seven years of age. He came from a successful family. His father and one brother were doctors. Another brother was an electrical engineer. Mark, himself, was a liar and not the person that he claimed to be. He had dropped out of college, yet, for three years he pretended to be going to the University of Utah, even purchasing books to keep up the appearance. Then, he supposedly graduated with honors and earned a degree in Psychology. Next, he told Lori that he had been accepted into medical school at UNC. It was all a lie. When he no longer could hide the truth from Lori, he shot and killed her while she slept, dumped her body in a dumpster, and reported her missing the next day. However, the truth came to light.
2008 ( Nevada ): Kevin Hart lived in the small town of Fernley . He was an offensive lineman on the high school football team. He stood 6’5” and weighed nearly 300 pounds. The high school had never produced a Division 1 college football player. Kevin Hart began to boast that he had so many college offers, he didn’t know what he would do. There were offers from California , Oregon , Nevada , Illinois and Oklahoma State . Finally, he called a press conference and announced before the press and a packed high school auditorium that he had accepted Cal ’s offer. One major problem – neither Cal, nor any other major school had offered him a scholarship. It was all lies.
Lying is nothing new. Abraham lied (Genesis 12:11-13, 17-19). Isaac lied (Genesis 26:6-7). Jacob lied (Genesis 27:19). The Psalmist said “all men are liars” (Psalm 116:11).
Definition Thayer: “conscious and intentional falsehood.”
Webster: “To utter falsehood with the intention to deceive; to say or do that which is designed to deceive, to cause incorrect impression, to present misleading appearance.”
Why Do People Lie? Most sources list three reasons: (1) Deceitful jest/play. Such is not intended to permanently deceive. It is not for personal gain or avoidance. An example would be an “April Fools” joke. We don’t read of this type of deceitfulness in the scriptures. We do see something similar in the use of fabricated stories in order to teach [(2 Samuel 12:1-ff; 14:2-ff). Both were deceptive stories. However, they were not intended to truly deceive, save for the momentary story.] (2) Deceitful gain/advantage. Such is what motivated Jacob (Genesis 27:19). This is what motivated Ananias and Sapphria (Acts 5:1-ff). Those who tell such love the praise of men more than the praise of God. (3) Deceitful avoidance/escape. This is what motivated Abraham (Genesis 12:11-ff) and Isaac (Genesis 26:6-7). This is what motivated Peter (Matthew 26:69-ff; Mark 14:66-ff; Luke 22:54-ff; John 18:15-ff). Those who tell such are brave toward God, and cowards toward men.
Things to Remember
1. The Bible condemns lying (Proverbs 6:16-19; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; Revelations 21:8; 21:27; 22:15).
2. You may be able to hide who you are from man (1 Timothy 5:24). It’s not likely you’ll keep it up long term, but it is possible. Mark Twain: “Always tell the truth – that way you don’t have to remember what you’ve said.”
3. You can’t hide the truth from God (Psalm 139:1-4; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:16; 1 Timothy 5:24; Hebrews 4:13). Judgment is coming. “A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future!” (Unknown).
4. God always means what he says. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13, NKJV). He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
5. Many times one sin leads to another. This truth is seen in the David-Bathsheba history. This is also seen in the aforementioned Mark Hacking story.
6. Some lie to others about their own spiritual state, pretending to be what they are not (cf. Matthew 23:27). Some act a certain way and speak a certain way in the presence of elders, preachers, or church members wanting to appear as something they really are not. Let’s remember that God knows, and that He is the one we should be seeking to please.
7. Some lie to themselves about their own spiritual condition ( James 1:22; 1:26-27; 1 John 1:6; 2:4; 4:20-21). Self deception is a common problem which can be spiritually deadly. We each need to honestly appraise ourselves by peering into that mirror of the soul, the word of God ( James 1:23-25). Asking others to frankly tell you their assessment of your spiritual condition may also be helpful (cf. Proverbs 27:26). Tell you friends to not pull any punches.
8. Some lie to us in their religious message (Matthew 24:4; Ephesians 5:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2:9-11). It’s important to test what we hear (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). Being taught wrong does not excuse us (1 Kings 13: Matthew 15:14; Galatians 5)!