TRUTHFULNESS – Telling exactly what was said or done without changing the facts.
There is a very famous story about a shepherd boy who lied. He was hired to watch the sheep of the village and to protect them from the hungry wolf that roamed the countryside. The boy thought that this was a very boring job.
So one day to make things interesting, the boy yelled, “Wolf! Wolf!” to see what would happen. When the villagers heard the boy yelling they stopped what they were doing and came running ready to protect the sheep and kill the wolf. But when the villagers arrived at the field where the sheep were grazing peacefully, the boy laughed and said, “False alarm, there is no wolf”.
The boy cried “Wolf!” like this on several other days and each time he laughed when the villagers came to help. Each time the villagers became more angry and frustrated with the boy and his lies. One day, however, the real wolf did show up. The boy again cried frantically, “Wolf! Wolf!”. Sadly, the villagers didn’t believe him because he had lied to them before. So this time they continued their own work and didn’t run to help the boy.
The wolf carried off many sheep and scattered the others. The boy was very sad and the villagers were very mad. The boy learned a very important lesson. Even though he had finally told the truth, nobody believed him because he had lied to them before.
WHY DO PEOPLE LIE?
There are several reasons. Here are a few:
Just like the boy in the story above, some people lie because they think it is funny. Other people lie so that they won’t get into trouble when they do something wrong. One day a boy named Billy and his sister Sally were throwing a ball in their house even though they had been told to play ball outside where they couldn’t break anything. While playing ball inside, the ball hit their mother’s favorite lamp and broke it into several pieces. The kids lied and told their mother that the dog had broken the lamp. Fido couldn’t defend himself, but Mother could tell that Billy and Sally were lying. In the end, the kids were punished … for breaking the lamp and for lying about it.
People also lie because they want others to think that they are better than they really are. A boy or girl may brag that they can beat a certain video game or that they have more privileges than they really do or that they are going to a concert or that they are friends with someone “important” or … just so that people will think they are more special than they are. They are lying to try and impress other people.
People sometimes lie to get something that they want. Everyone wants to get good grades and some boys and girls will cheat to get them. And when you cheat, you are actually lying to your teacher because when you hand in your test you are saying that you studied and that you knew the answers. Instead you copied them from some other person or source. You are lying to get something you want.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LIE?
When you lie, no matter the reason, you are being like Satan. Jesus said in John 8:44 that Satan is the FATHER OF LIES. Satan told the first lie and he loves it when you copy him and tell more lies. Just like he lied to Adam and Eve, he lies to you by telling you that sin won’t hurt. He tells you that it’s okay to tell a fib (which is really a lie) or to disobey your parents or to take things that don’t belong to you. Satan will lie to you so that you’ll try drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Satan is a very good liar since he has been lying for a long time. He knows just how to say it so that it sounds good and true, but it’s not.
Jesus, on the other hand, is called the TRUTH (John 14:6) and His Word is TRUTH (John 17:17). We can believe that whatever Jesus says is absolutely and fully true. He never tries to deceive or hurt us. He only wants what’s best for us. We can trust Him and His Word completely. Being truthful is part of GOD’S NATURE, so He cannot lie.
The Bible also tells us that God hates lying. Proverbs 12:22 says that “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD, but they that deal truly are His delight.” An abomination is something that God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19 gives a list of seven things that God hates. Lying is mentioned twice (a "lying tongue" and a "false witness"). God knows that when you lie, then you hurt others and even yourself.
Lying hurts your relationship with God. Lying is sin. Sin is anything that you do, say or think that is against God’s Laws. And whenever you sin it puts a barrier between God and you. Sin keeps you from having a good relationship with Him. Thankfully, you can tell God that you have sinned (lied, disobeyed, cheated, stolen something or …) and that you are sorry. This is called confessing your sin. And when you confess your sin, God will forgive you and clean your heart (I John 1:9).
Lying hurts your relationships with others. When you lie to your parents or friends it puts an invisible wall between you and them. You can’t relax and be yourself around them because you are afraid that they will find out that you lied to them. Many times you will even avoid being around them for this reason.
Lying hurts your reputation. Once a person finds out that you have lied to them then they won’t trust you like they did before. Trust is a very important thing in life and once it is lost it may take a long time to get it back. No one wants to be known as a liar. If you have a habit of lying, people won’t believe anything that you say just like the boy who cried wolf. Do you remember him? Because he had lied, no one believed him even when he told the truth.
Lying hurts your rights. You might have told your mom that you went to the library, when instead you went to the arcade or some other place where she said you couldn’t go. When she finds out you may lose your freedom to go anywhere for a while.
HOW CAN YOU KEEP FROM LYING?
PLACE A HIGH VALUE ON THE TRUTH. You should choose to follow God’s character and not Satan’s. Since truth is important to God, it should be important to you too. Proverbs 12:22 also says that those who do tell the truth are a "delight" to God. Tell the truth!
PRACTICE TELLING THE TRUTH. Determine in your heart that you will tell the truth no matter what and then do it. Lying can become a bad habit. Why not make telling the truth a good habit?
PRAY, ASKING GOD FOR HELP. He will not only help you to say kind words, but true ones as well. Psalm 141:3 gives you a prayer to pray: "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." God will answer that prayer and help you say the things that you should.
LEARN GOD’S WORD AND LIVE BY ITS TRUTH. Start with Proverbs 12:22:
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but they that deal truly are His delight.”