An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies. (Proverbs 12:17)
I was raised in a dysfunctional family by a mother who was deceitful and manipulative. She, herself was raised by a dysfunctional mother. The manipulative lies in my family has wounded us all, and has ruined relationships between mother and children, and between siblings, and grandchildren. No relationship in my family has been untouched.
My mother rejected me when I got married–because, I believe, she was either afraid of losing me (which she wouldn’t have done) or because she was afraid of losing her control over me. She turned most of my family against me by lying about me. I am the third of six children that she had rejected in such way. I have always loved my family very much, and I have spent the last 20 years trying to understand love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. I have learned much, and will probably share some of what I learned about these things in later posts. But for now, I want to simply say that it’s very difficult (impossible?) to deal with people who manipulate and lie because they can be so good at twisting truth that their lies often sound more true than the truth. Such people can be psychologically abusive, and in recent years, I have learned much about this from several websites, and from a book called, In Sheep’s Clothing, Dealing With Manipulative People
From my childhood, even before I recognized the dysfunction in my family, I have longed for truth. Truth is vitally important to me because only truth can defeat lies. Only truth sets us free. I believe that I must first learn the truth about God and myself. Only if I am willing to seek who God is, and acknowledge who He says I am, and to confront who He says I am, can I understand the truth about life or others. If I can’t face the truth about God and myself, I will be deceived about who He is, who I am, who others are, and what life is about. For this reason, I constantly ask God to teach me truth, and I always pray for myself to change when I pray for others to change, and I ask God to reveal sin in myself when I ask Him to reveal sin in others. When God does reveal sin or a need for change in myself, I try to face it honestly and to deal with it, even if it is painful.
I tell you all this so you can understand that I have experience with dealing with those who lie, and I understand the damage lies cause. This is background to sharing what I have been pondering regarding the Truth about Lies, which is what this post is about.
I have been pondering that I don’t think that people understand the seriousness of lies. I mean, no one lies to be lied to or about, but we seldom ponder what a person who lies actually is or does.
I believe a person who lies is extremely selfish. He is willing to put his interests above everyone else’s.
A person who lies is extremely unloving. He doesn’t care who he hurt as long as he gets what he wants.
A person who lies steals others’ freedom. Rather than present the facts and let others make their decisions based on facts, he manipulates and twists the truth to get people to make the choices HE wants them to make. A person who is basing his decisions on incorrect, false, or manipulated facts is not able to make a true or free choice.
A person who lies shapes and changes reality of others. Marriages and families have been destroyed through lies. Political elections have been won or lost through lies. Wars have been won or lost through lies (called reality). Countries and societies have been affected by lies. People have been killed because of lies. The world has been changed through lies.
Do you doubt this? Look at World War 2. Hitler change the world, murdering millions of people and invading countries because he lied about his plans, and he lied about people. He wrote in his book, Mein Kampf:
All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true within itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. —Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
The phrase was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler’s psychological profile:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
In other words, a person who lies sets himself up as a god, putting himself first, controlling others, and changing their reality. Lying is not a trivial thing. It is absolutely evil.
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter. ~Isaiah 5:20Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! ~John 8:43-45
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. ~Ps.34:13There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. ~Prov. 6:16-19
…Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~John 8:31-32