Lies are nauseous. Like cancer, it starts with one cell, then 2, 4, 8, multiplying. Soon you can’t stop it. Lies kill individuals, nations and the world.
Lies destroy truth. That’s the bottom line at the top of this post. It even goes further because most people today would even question the definition of truth and whether such a beast exists. We’re hitting rock-bottom. Practical Bible wisdom reveals there is truth and an antidote to lies.
I had the strangest dream a few days ago. Maybe it was this post working at an unconscious level. I was flying around at tree-height level (don’t get rational; I don’t remember the mechanism). Somebody else flew past me slightly higher, and I purposely raised my hand and touched their sled. It caused a crash. The driver got up and ran after me, throwing a purse which I caught. The question is, what to do with that purse? My first thought was throw it away, drop it into the ocean. Then I realized, since I caught it, there are probably fingerprints or fibers on it that would identify me! And the surmisings, excuses, options multiplied from there. ALL of that to AVOID ADMITTING my mistake. Crazy dream right! The point?
Lies TWIST YOUR MIND.
Trying to cover up a lie forces you into telling more and more lies. It affects your conscience, the deepest part of your being. I couldn’t get out of my dream. I realized I’d done wrong and wanted to correct it, without getting myself caught. NO consequences for me! There was ID in the purse. I thought about sending the purse back with money to cover repairs and make amends. But, HOW to do this without having the package traced back to me? ONE ACT, ONE LIE starts a CHAIN REACTION that NEVER ENDS.
The Bible confirms how deep lies reach. Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Inveterate Liars are very intelligent people
Lies must be believable, but they must have a story. As someone said, a liar must have a good memory. They must remember their lies and be capable of fabricating a story where all the pieces fit together around that lie. That’s why police spend hours interrogating a suspect, Going into all the details, over and over until they trip them up. During such a grueling interrogation, a guilty person who is trying to weave a story by blaming someone else or denying their deeds get caught up in the web of their own reasoning and words. They have no choice but to admit their guilt.
But the listeners don’t always have the acumen veteran police do and fall for lies. They believe in traditions, folklore, myth or what society has wrongly taught them with so much conviction. So much so that there are myriad beliefs about anything and everything.
Kasparov from Russia was the former World chess champion. He now lives in Croatia and founded the Renew Democracy Initiative to defend and promote liberal democracy in the USA and around the world. He is also an author. Regarding lies, which of course, are not called that, but rather propaganda, he tweeted.
“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
I wrote about critical thinking as an antidote to confusion. Certainly misinformation fits into the categories of both chaos and lies. When you begin to realize the extent of psychological manipulation and its vast array of practices, you realize just how devastating it is. Here’s another article that elaborates on how lies undermine truth., specifically oriented to the state of politics in the USA in this pre-election period.
Lies kill critical thinking because they are so rampant that people a lost in a sea of opposing nuances and debates. Add to this fake news in a post-truth age and although we call this the information age, we’ve got a potent mess of facts and fiction. There’s so much shredded confetti that nobody can sort it out or make heads or tails of what to believe and what not to believe. People have given up in despair.
Lies for Manipulation
There are various reasons people tell lies. A key one is they don’t want anyone catching them for something they’ve done wrong, like theft or murder. This is egotistical and concerns the person involved or maybe the groups they frequent that committed the felony.
You also get manipulation on a major scale when lies are told that affect dozens, hundreds and thousands of people. We’ve seen this down through history. You can read this National Geographic article to see some of the biggest lies in politics, sports, finance, entertainment… These are swindlers, corruptors, fraud on a large scale.
One of the major areas of lies to manipulate are in the area of UNprovable phenomena. Specifically, the spiritual or religious fields. It’s a vast area that involves the immaterial or intangible world. Totally the opposite of science which handles measurable, material matters. But even science can lead you up the garden path. John Horgan wrote “The End of Science,” in which he refers to ironic science. That is the imaginary speculation scientists add to what’s proven. When you’ve established your reputation, you can advance a lot of ideas that listeners can take as gospel truth, so to speak, with no supporting evidence.
One vivid example of this is to answer the question of what preceded the Big Bang. Where did the first piece of physical matter, that developed into our Cosmos, come from? Some scientists put forth the idea that something can come from nothing. And many believe that. Or the idea that asteroids deposited all the water we have on Earth. There’s no proof, but authority manipulates. Lies are powerful influences.
The Bible points to a liar par excellence. So much so that when you talk about the reality of a talking, wise, manipulating Serpent, most will smile and think you’re a little naïve or weird. The key verse is in this rather long context that follows. I’ve included it because it reveals the delusion the religious leaders were under, that they portrayed to the people to maintain their status. Christ cuts through to the core issue in verse 44. Here, He points out WHY and WHO their real influence is. There’s a short phrase in this verse, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own,” that’s worth understanding. Of his own points to how deeply ingrained in its character is lying.
You can read this article to see the origin of the devil’s lies. Its lies started way before the creation in Genesis 1:1. By that time it was already an inveterate liar with a cohort of one-third of the spirit beings as demons. That’s why Christ states ‘from the beginning, referring to when our world was established. It’s a pathological liar and can no longer help itself.
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abides not in the house for ever: but the Son abides ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God hears God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeks and judges. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou has a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makes thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honours me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and has thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
These religious leaders were manipulating scripture. It could be said they misunderstood the scope of the Hebrew Bible contexts. Christ points out, however, that they are liars, meaning they’re manipulating scripture, outright lies, to remain the wise of the day, when Wiser was on the scene.
Right from the start, in Genesis 3, and down through history God condemns lies. God judged the father of lies and sentence will be carried out in due course. In the Old Testament there is clear condemnation of lies. The … commandment part of the Ten Commandments, the ultimate ethical code, says You shall not lie. It is followed by umpteen verses and allusions to not distorting the truth.
Lev. 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
In a Court of Law, the sentence, when the Judges caught someone lying, was very stiff. It could be capital punishment.
15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
Note verse 20. Everybody in the community is to not only understand but deeply comprehend that lying would NOT BE TOLERATED. Imagine if people had that proper outlook towards lies today! You decide whether this is practical Bible wisdom. Whether it leads to a more civil society.
Many are surprised and even upset to find a “God of love” advocate the death sentence in the Bible. In our liberal fake news, post-truth society we don’t understand the havoc lies cause, although I think a lot are beginning to realize we’ve gone way to far. God doesn’t take this lightly, and He nips it in the bud. Before the infection can get a stronghold and the epidemic gets out of hand. With Covid-19 we see just how fast an infectious disease can spread. And how difficult it is to bring it to an end. The best approach is to eradicate it at the outset. That’s God’s approach, even if you might think it’s brutal. The more it can cause damage, the quicker you must intervene and take stiff action to curb its spread.
Later Problem and Antidote
Later in the Bible as society and social outlooks modified, we continue to find strong injunctions against lies, although we don’t find such stiff penalties. However, telling lies still has a stiff penalty for those who make it a practice. This is a study that needs meditation.
Proverbs 20:19 He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flatters with his lips.
King Solomon addresses the Book of Proverbs to his son, individuals, as such. Here, self-control is the advised Bible wisdom
Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases.
New Testament Antidote
When we get to the New Testament era we still see lies, even in the Church. Need to catch it in the bud. Otherwise gets ingrained.
James 3:10-17 10 Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Truth – the Ultimate Antidote
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The ONLY WAY to end a lie is to TELL THE TRUTH.
If you make a mistake, the best remedy is to ADMIT the mistake IMMEDIATELY. Then, hopefully, the offended person will accord forgiveness, certainly God will. Help is there if need be. Maybe even a sanction, if that’s warranted. And a lesson learned by the person which is necessary to gain wisdom.
Bible, for your consideration
One aspect of the Bible is that the story it narrates tells it straight, as it took place. There’s no camouflage, filter, toning down of violence or sex. It states outright what you can do and what you can’t do. Whether you’ll live or die. You can disagree all you want with the Bible, but one thing you can’t say is that the narrative is not direct. It doesn’t hide behind any censorship. It tells you God killed all humans and saved only eight people during Noah’s flood. It tells you Abraham tried to assassinate his son Isaac. It tells you Judah committed adultery with a woman who prostituted herself to trap him.
The Bible doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. It states it’s the Word of God. There’s no manipulation. You take it; you leave it. The Word of God is not trying to manipulate you. One could even say it actually pushes many people AWAY by its content and frankness.
And after all is said and done, Christ, referring to the Father, said, “Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.”
God’s Word is Truth
How do you know if someone is telling you lies?
6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Let’s go to the core of the matter. If you listen to the first five minutes or read the first pages of a narrative, you can tell WHERE the story is coming from. God’s Word, His law and testimony is the rule of comparison. If that’s not the basis then it is non-truth, which is equivalent to lies.
The choice is yours according to how you exercise your free will. God forces nothing on you. He leaves that choice up to each individual.
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