I remember the exact moment I first learned I could tell a lie. I don’t know what it was about or what I was trying to gain. What I remember was how I felt. And I felt like I had discovered a superpower. Remembering that led me to a question: Why do kids lie? Turns out, it’s the same reason adults do.
Oh man, did that moment feel sweet! My mother stood over me asking a question that could have gained her some incriminating information, and all of a sudden, a thought occurred. I didn’t have to own my mess. I could pass blame to the cat. Or better yet, to my sister! A few simple words and my problems were over.
This was a very important discovery. Possibly the greatest superpower ever! Right?
You might guess what happened after that. I spent a long period learning what we’ve all learned about lies in our lifetime: it’s often more costly to keep up with lies than it is to suffer the consequences honesty can bring; people can see through lies; and lies add a second layer of hurt rather than making the hurt go away.
I wasn’t the first to discover this “superpower.” Lying goes all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There was another character who entered the garden and Jesus later called him “the father of lies.” Catch up on the story here if you don’t know it. You see where I’m going with this? The O.G. of lying is the devil. He used his “power” to deceive Adam and Eve and inspire the fall of man.
That ended up pretty badly for everyone.
Jesus said about Satan, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NIV
And look at what Jesus said about Himself in John 14:6 NIV: “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
So Satan is the “father of lies,” and Jesus is truth. When we choose to speak truth, we align ourselves with who God is. When we lie, we align ourselves with characteristics of the devil. We’re tapping into his “superpower,” which is, of course, not a superpower at all.
So lying is wrong. What’s new, right? How about this: let’s talk about why we still do it when we know it’s wrong.
It comes down to a matter of trust. I didn’t trust that my mom really had my best interest in mind when I lied to her about what I did wrong. I couldn’t see the whole picture. I thought that not getting in trouble would serve me best, when she knew it was better for me to learn to take responsibility for my actions.
Likewise, when I lie, I show that I don’t fully trust in what God has promised me. I don’t trust He can still work through me despite my failures. I don’t trust I’ll find mercy and forgiveness in confession. Despite my mother’s teaching, I still don’t always trust that being honest and taking responsibility for my mistakes is better than hiding in sin.
But just as a little child doesn’t see the whole picture when she faces punishment, we don’t often see the whole picture of the healing work God wants to do in us. Do you want to look more like Jesus? Great! Jesus wants that for you, too, and He will do everything to get you to trust Him more. Even things we don’t understand in the moment.
Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. Only when we follow and align ourselves with Him, the truth, will we find life.