Monday, January 17, 2011

Loving Truth

I wrote the following in the hospital and it wouldn't let me post, so I'm posting it now. This is a subject that's been on my mind a lot lately.

I’ve had numerous talks with my children about the importance of telling the truth. How it’s much better to tell the truth and be honest about a situation even when it’s difficult. Even if it means getting punished. The punishment is temporary, but if they don’t stop lying, the lies could build up on top of each other, and the next thing they know, the lies cause them to lose friends, and ultimately, family in their adult years. I’ve explained that if they don’t learn to tell their parents the truth, they won’t learn to tell their teachers the truth, and then they won’t be honest with their boss, and ultimately they likely won’t be honest with God. I use this theory with “obedience” a lot. If they don’t learn to obey us, they won’t learn to obey those in authority, and with God as the ultimate authority, they won’t even obey Him.

I’ve explained to them that a person who doesn’t love truth can get so wrapped up in their own lies, that even they themselves begin to believe them! And it’s my understanding that God allows it to happen. In 2 Thessalonians 2: 10b, 11 and12 it emphasizes the importance of our love for truth, and if we don’t “love it,” God will send a deluding influence over us to believe a lie.  

2 Thessalonians 10b-12 says (emphasis mine), “They perish because they refused to LOVE THE TRUTH and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

There was a time I was arguing with my husband, and we were both so adamant about our own stance that the argument turned into a near fight (not physical, just words). I don’t even remember what we were arguing about, but I remember the emotion. I couldn’t “see” his side, and I was so angry that he wasn’t “seeing mine.” In that moment, I prayed and asked God for help. That’s all I said, “Help.” Not long after that, I stopped and listened, and finally “heard” my husband, and I realized (was stunned, shocked, and dismayed to realize) that my husband was right, and I was wrong! Dare I continue to hold my ground, push my position just so I could be right and come out the victor? I couldn’t do that because while my husband might not know I realized the truth, God would. And what good would it do anyway? All it would do is create contention in my marriage. Why do that? So, I stopped arguing and choked out the words, “You’re right. I didn’t see it that way, and well . . . you’re right.” It was NOT easy to admit the truth. Again, I don’t recall the subject matter, but boy do I recall my feelings, and I did not “feel like” admitting the truth! What’s funny is, when I admitted to the truth, it totally took him by surprise, not to mention the wind out of his furious sails. At first, he didn’t even know how to react! LOL

Did you know lying is on God’s “hate list?” Twice! Can you believe, our kind, loving Father has a hate list? I couldn’t believe it when I first discovered it. And notice the wording here. It doesn’t say He hates people who lie, but instead, He hates a lying tongue. Notice how he separates the person from the behavior?

Proverbs 6:16-19 says (again, emphasis is mine), “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a LYING TONGUE, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush to evil, a false witness who pours out LIES, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

Who would have thought God hated lying so much? I know I get tempted to lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. You know, “little white lies.” But even those are detestable to our Lord. I remember doing that when we were first in Holland. The Dutch are very blunt, and the woman asked me out right, “Are you just saying that to spare my feelings? Because you don’t have to do that, you know. I just want the truth.” Wow. That really made me rethink those “little white lies.”

What if someone wants you to lie on their behalf? This can happen in all sorts of situations. Allow me to share one of mine. I was eighteen when my grandfather died. My dad didn’t get along with Grandpa’s wife (she wasn’t very nice, so few really “got along” with her). At the house after the funeral, my dad was arguing vehemently with Grandpa’s widow. They were both in the kitchen, and their voices carried into the living room. I was shocked that they were going at each other right after the funeral. Next thing I knew, Dad called me into the kitchen, so I set down my cup and shuffled into the eye of the storm. Gulp. I don’t remember what they were arguing about, but Dad asked me to answer a question. All eyes were on me: Dad’s, Grandpa’s widow, and the others who were standing in the kitchen trying to put out the “fires.” Well, the truth ended up not supporting Dad’s argument. I told the truth anyway, and peace settled over the house. No more arguing, no more fighting. It had come to an end and we could all go about our business of saying "goodbye" to Grandpa. 

On the way home in the car I got a verbal thrashing. How dare I not support my own father, and it’s my duty as a daughter to support him before others, etc. I said, “But it wasn’t the truth!” And suddenly, that didn’t matter, not to him, anyway. Despite his fury, I knew I’d done the right thing because all that mattered was that I was pleasing to God, and I knew God wanted the truth. What I didn’t know, and I wish I had, was the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They claimed to have sold all their land and gave it to the church. I don’t know what Sapphira’s motives were, if lying to begin with was even her idea, but she chose to support her husband in a lie, instead of telling the truth when she was questioned by the apostles. Because of that, she died on the spot. So . . . even in circumstances when your own father, spouse, best friend, or relative wants you to lie for them, it’s not a good idea if you want to be pleasing to the Lord.

It’s not always easy to admit the truth. Painful even, especially if you know you might hurt someone else or yourself, but God expects it of us. I’d so much rather know the truth, no matter how painful, than be told a lie.


  1. Sandi I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you. It's much harder to teach my children not to lie than I thought it was going to be. It was encouraging to read your words. Oh, and I would have loved to see the look on Karsten's face! ;)

  2. Thanks, Abbie! Yes, Karsten's face was rather funny at the time. He really didn't know what to think. LOL

  3. My "husband" does not love the truth and is caught up in believing his own lies. I don't think of him as my husband anymore, because of all the lies he's told. They do untold damage and I'm still discovering things in me that he hurt with the lies.