No matter where you are, where you have been, or how old you are, the odds are high that you have been lied to at some point. It is common in the modern world. In some ways, it is what binds the modern west together.
Can you imagine what would happen if people suddenly did not have the ability to lie? You would ask a friend how they were doing and you might get raked into a conversation about the geopolitical climate of the day. Or you may be interviewing some politicians and realize that nobody is fit for public office. But I think that it is fair to say that a large portion of conflicts can be solved by simply telling the truth.
This is by no means a definitive, one-size-fits-all statement because there are going to be people who do not like what you have to tell them. They are going to bring the conflict to you if you try to be honest either about what you are feeling or about the facts as you see them. But honesty is still important. Trust is important. If we lie in small things to keep the peace, this can lead us on a path we did not intend, but still leads us away from Christ.
In modern secular society, lying is generally acceptable wherever it gives the liar a significant long-term advantage. We expect our politicians to lie. We expect those who negotiate on behalf of our country, our businesses or our labor unions to lie. We expect that marketing messages are full of lies. And don’t even get me started on food processing and pharmaceutical companies, and the entire insurance industry.
Lying has also become pervasive in our personal relationships. How many couples say “I love you” and move in together with a constant eye out for a better match elsewhere? How many couples say “until death do us part,” but then part when tempted by someone with more youth, beauty, or money? I suppose the ultimate example of our cultural disrespect for the truth is the Caitlyn Jenner story. We are all supposed to pretend that a man in a dress is really a woman. Telling the truth about his gender is criticized as “hate speech.” We are under tremendous pressure to “bear false witness” about him and all others in the gender dysphoric community.
Truth is a seamless web. Whenever we deviate from it, we rip that web and begin a tear that is likely to leave us wide open for all kinds of falsehoods to invade our thinking as well as our personal and business relationships. Jesus walked the streets, saw the moneylenders in the temple and watched as people bore false witness against him. He told the truth in speeches, in private, and by his behavior. And he was crucified for it.
He walked the earth once for all time and for all of us in order to give us a message and in order for us to partake of the kingdom of God. But, in order for that to come to pass, we must be willing to sacrifice, similar to what Jesus sacrificed. And, if one is not willing to make small sacrifices, then what are the chances one would be willing to make bigger sacrifices? And each of us will be asked to make that sacrifice.
So, to that end, it is necessary to drop the comfortable, little lies. Every day, we are offered a choice. Our freedom from sin is a choice. And we make this choice by the little, everyday aspects of our lives.