Truth Sometimes is Avoided When it is Painful

  • Peter Friesen, Author
  • Retired Minister

Genesis 12:13… (Abraham) Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you… Genesis 18:15… Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” … Genesis 26:7 … When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said,” She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.” (NIV)

Just like all the other great commandments of God, the violation of the ninth commandment is somewhat out of control in this world of ours; Exodus 20:16 that is we must not bear false witness. It is part of a human condition that has existed ever since Eve believed the lies of the serpent in the garden; is simply sinning. Each one of us knows that we will be exposed to some who will stretch the truth daily.

Now I think most people believe stretching the truth is wrong, even those who are not Christians believe it is wrong; and yet, so many people are dishonest. Some people cannot discern the truth or who will fudge the truth on an impulse. But most people avoid the whole truth for a reason, and the motivations for not telling the truth is rather simple… but tough to overcome.

Let us start with ill will or spitefulness: Some folks will twist the truth to do evil or harm to someone else. The story is told of a crabby old fellow who boarded a train, occupied the best seat, and then tried to reserve still another seat for himself by placing his luggage on the seat beside where he was going to sit. Just before the crowded train started to move, a teenage boy came running up and jumped on board.

“This car is full,” said the crappy old man, “The seat next to me is reserved for a friend of mine who has put his bag there.” The youth paid no attention but sat down saying. “All right, I will stay here until he comes.” He placed the suitcase upon his lap while the elderly man glared at him in vain. Of course, the “friend” did not come, and soon the train began to move past the platform, this adolescent fellow tossed the bag through an open window saying, “We do not want your friend to miss his luggage”. We can not let him lose his luggage too!” With a horrified expression on his face, the old gentleman began to fume and sputter. His lie had cost him his possessions and he had lied because of the malice, ill will, the meanness in his heart towards this young boy and others.

Truth sometimes is avoided when it is painful: I find it extremely difficult at times to be honest with certain people when the truth will be painful. The problem is that the person that is always totally honest in everything must exercise a whole lot of discipline. We must always hold truth to be most important because of our testimony.

One possible result when I am breaking the commandment against bearing false witness is the deceiver may very well get caught. Should I lie I run the risk of getting caught by someone else.

There is this story of a woman coming home from work; she stops at the corner deli to buy a chicken for supper. The butcher reaches into the barrel, grabbed the last chicken he had, flung it on the scales behind the counter, and told the woman its weight. She thought for a moment. “I need a bit more chicken than that, “she said. Do you have any larger ones?” Without a word, the butcher put the chicken back into the barrel, groped around as though finding another, pulled the same chicken out, and placed it on the scale. “This chicken is heftier – weighs 450 Grams more,” he stated. The lady thought for a moment, “Okay. Hey, why not, give me both.” It is uncomfortable to get stuck in a lie like this.

The Christian sees truth as unconditional. The world sees the truth through the eyes of the beholder – what you see is what you get. We must also understand that God knows all and sees all, including the very sinful depths of our hearts. We cannot deceive God because He knows of our attempts to deceive Him even before we formulate the deception in our minds. We cannot ever fool the Creator of the universe. Finally, we must know that we will fail. We fail because we are sinners by nature which means we put ourselves at the center of existence instead of God; we think we do not need God. That is, after all, why we try to deceive… To God Be the Glory Great things He has done.

Would you pray this prayer with me…? “Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive my sins. I want my life to change. My thoughts and my attitude need to change. I do not have peace in my heart. I really want that peace, joy, and happiness that I long for. Please let the Holy Spirit help me be the kind of Christian that will bring honour to Your Name.” Amen