…Pants on fire

exaggeration

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Would anyone agree that telling lies is a good thing?  Nobody wants to be called a “liar”.  Those are fighting words for most people.  I would assert even atheists think telling the truth, for the most part, is a good thing.  Although why they think this I don’t know because without God’s command there is no basis for truth telling.

God’s Word tells us repeatedly to tell the truth, and in fact it’s such a serious matter that it’s one of the seven things that are an abomination to God.

Proverbs 6:16-17 These six thing the LORD hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue…

Ephesians 4:29-31 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth… Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Paul tells us that it is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10).  There is no doubt God hates lying.

Does anyone disagree?

I’m here to tell you today that we need to reform in this area of truth telling.  I know most of you are probably thinking, “I don’t lie”, at least not on purpose.  I think there is a very insidious way in which Satan deceives us into lying and allows us to wrap ourselves in our own righteous.  It’s called exaggeration.  It’s a subtle but evil form of speaking to your neighbor.

Here’s an example from my own life.

I return from a hard week of work and say, “Oh I’m so tired I put in 40 hours of work in 3 days”.  In reality I did work hard and I am tired but the exaggeration comes in the form of the “stretch” of how many hours I actually worked.  I might have been awake and actually doing something for 40 hours over the course of those 3 days but I wasn’t working the entire time.

In the business I work we get up early.  I may actually have worked 38 hours but there is always the pull to exaggerate, even slightly, to the amount of time or the amount of effort that was exerted.

Why?

I want to seriously ask myself this question, why would I do that?  If I’m telling someone about my long work days do they really care whether it was 40 hours or 38 hours; of course not, but in my mind that sounds more dramatic.  I have the tendency to think of myself a higher opinion.  “Boy I really did something this weekend!”  “Aren’t I special?”

I’m a legend in my own mind…

Don’t we all do this?  Tell the truth…  You know you do this and so do I.

I have a good friend that is an extraordinarily hard working guy.  I don’t distrust him when it comes to his work ethic or his ability to tell me the truth.  Yet he’s an exaggerator.  He has some liberty with the amount of emails sent in a day or the time he arises each morning and goes to bed each night to accomplish his tasks.  Again, I don’t distrust his work ethic but why the embellishment?

I know he’s busy, I know he works hard.  But did he really send out 100 emails today or was it more like 60?  I’m easily impressed so whether it was 40, 60 or 800 in a day I’m going to think he’s pretty special at his job.  He has my respect without the exaggeration.

God thought this was important enough to include this in the top 10 of Christianity (Exodus 20:1-17).  This word “false” holds a very deep meaning.

sheh’-ker

From H8266; an untruth; by implication a sham (often adverbially): – without a cause, deceit (-ful), false (-hood, -ly), feignedly, liar, + lie, lying, vain (thing), wrongfully.

Notice how it says adverbially.  I really like this because it shows us how we use “verbal exclamations” to spin our lies in the form of exaggerations and all along it’s meant to deceive.  And then it goes on to tell us “without a cause”, there’s no reason for it.  Please let that sink in for a moment.  You have no reason to stretch that truth.  It does not profit you.  Ultimately it harms your credibility.

This article is meant to reform the minds and hearts of Bible believing Christians.  I don’t expect it will have any effect on the unregenerate but if God wills it might show someone their sin.  If you are a chronic liar you need to repent and turn from this abominable sin.  If you are just an exaggerator you need to repent and turn from this abominable sin.

Although I’d like to develop some other thoughts, that might have to be another day, but some common expressions Believers should not utilize are verbal exclamations such “I swear to God” or “I swear”, see Matthew 5:33-36.  You should never have to “convince” someone you are a truth teller.

We should also eliminate words like “honestly”, or “to be honest with you”…  This would indicate at other times you are dishonest.  As we begin to consider the meaning of our words and how important the words we use, we can become better communicators and better ambassadors for Christ.

Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ…

This is the ultimate goal, to no longer be children, we need to put aside the elementary principles of Christianity and “grow up”; for the glory of the One that deserves obedience and truth telling.

Kevin

What should I do?

DSCN2597I have a friend that we recently sat down and had breakfast together.  I’ve discussed the gospel often with him and have made attempts at explaining the truth of God’s word.

Most people are willing to live their lives without any real concept of God.  They are content.  They trust in themselves that everything is okay.

On this occasion I could see that my friend was struggling because he recently had a close encounter with death.  Not himself, but someone that he knew.  It wasn’t expected…  is it ever?  This man was under 40 years of age and he left a family to figure out how to go on without a husband and a father.  This man woke up one day not realizing this would be his last day on earth.  What a weighty and powerful thought.

Have you considered today could be your last day?  I doubt it; I know I didn’t think that this morning.  What happens when you die?  These are all questions we must consider now, while we are here on earth.

What will happen once you die?

Will you go to heaven?  Are you good enough to go to heaven?

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Isn’t this bad news?  Haven’t we all committed some of these sins?  Paul is clear isn’t he?  See also Galatians 5:19-21.

I know what some of you will think, just like I used to think.  “Well I’m not that bad and surely God will overlook most or some of my sins.”

I’d like for you to consider that your sin and that my sin is an insurmountable debt.  One that is impossible for you to pay.   Let’s use an analogy of the financial mess this country is in of the debt you have incurred against God.

Jane Wells of CNBC puts the federal budget in household terms:

According to the White House, below are projected revenues and expenditures for 2013 without the bill approved to avoid the fiscal cliff:

  • Income: $2,902,000,000,000
  • Outlays: $3,803,000,000,000
  • Deficit: $ 901,000,000,000

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill voted on New Year’s Day actually adds $349,640,000,000 to the deficit this year, despite the tax increases.

That makes the new deficit $1,250,640,000,000. Meantime, our National Debt is somewhere around $16,400,000,000,000 at the moment.

Hard to get your head around all those zeroes? Why not remove seven of the zeroes after each figure and look at these numbers like it’s your household budget:

  • Income: $290,200
  • Spending: $380,300
  • Deficit: $90,100

Deficit after you make fiscal cliff changes: $125,064
Balance on your credit card: $1,640,000

I know you are thinking that “my sin is really not that bad”.  I’m here to tell you your sin is that bad.  You are defiled, you are like raw sewage and in the deceitfulness of sin it’s impossible to see.

How many times have you lied in your life?  It’s estimated the average man lies six times per day.  That’s over 87,000 lies by the time you are 40 years old.

How many times have you had angry thoughts about someone that Jesus actually equates to murder?  See my article on murder.

Think about how often you’ve gossiped?  Must I continue on for you to see your misery or are you starting to get just a glimpse?

Sin has a cost.  It must be paid for.  The choice is easy.  You pay for it, or allow Christ to pay for it.  He already paid the price and now you must make a decision.

You can think that it’s going to be okay…

You can believe you are good enough…

Or you can ask the question.  What should I do?  This is the question my friend asked.

James 4:6-10 But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners: and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

If this seems difficult to understand and it might even seem harsh I would ask you to consider what it meant for Christ to go to the cross?  He had to die a brutal death, endure the shame and punishment, take on the wrath of God to pay for the sin that you and I are incapable of paying for.  He didn’t deserve to die, but because of an incredible love He did it so some could be saved.

Upon your death you will stand before God and give an account of your life.  Today gives an opportunity to realize you are poor and destitute, unable to pay your debts on your own.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 

The “good-news”, the gospel says you don’t have to pay your debt because Jesus Christ has already paid the price.  Do you believe that?

What will you do?

Kevin