by Andrew McQuitty

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The Truth About Lies (9 of 10)
Andrew McQuitty
Exodus 16

"If I lie, I have believed that. . . it is safer to distrust God than to run the risk of being found out by others. I have forgotten that because of the mercy of Christ, telling the truth is always safer than telling a lie" (M.R. DeHaan).


Introduction: Three truths about lies. . .

When my son Jonathan was 3 years old, he came to me one day asking for a snack. Evidently, he'd been upstairs devouring candy and had chocolate smeared around his mouth, on his nose, in one eye, and even in his hair. I said, "Jonathan, you don't need a snack if you've been eating candy. Have you been eating candy?" He innocently raised his chubby chocolate-dipped hands and lied through his chocolate stained teeth: "Not me, Dad." For this innocent though blatant prevarication, Jonathan got his fanny warmed up a few degrees! Do you know what he will learn from the experience? Right, that lying isn't acceptable. But regrettably, he will also learn how to lie better! Next time he'll wash his face.

My son is no worse than any of us in this respect. We all learn early the short-term benefits of lying and how to do it more subtly. That's just human nature. A few years ago a research book entitled The Day America Told the Truth was published. Its authors claim that 91% of Americans admit they lie routinely; 86% lie regularly to parents, 75% to friends, 73% to siblings, and 69% to spouses! No wonder Mark Twain once quipped:

"When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends."

Truth-telling is increasingly in short supply in our day. That's why the ninth commandment is so relevant. Ex. 20:16, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." The context of this command is the ancient near-eastern custom of holding civil court proceedings in the city gate before a panel of elders. To lie in such pr ...

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