"There's never a reason to lie."
It was a simple sentence spoken by a garage door salesman.
Jamie and I were in our early twenties, and to be honest, we were giving the guy a hard time.
We'd just come through one of the most devastating times in our lives—finding out our Dad had been lying to our family for over ten years and running up a secret debt. Not in a frame of mind to trust anyone, we questioned everything this man said, making sure we weren't being cheated.
Looking back, this man had every right to be offended and storm off. Instead, he gently said, "I've been in this business a long time and found there's never a reason to lie. It only comes back to haunt you. I know what I'm saying is the truth."
Even though the garage door is now hanging in another friend's home (we took it down 20 years after we bought it when we converted our garage to office space), the man's words are still with me. I doubt I'll ever forget them.
I especially remember them whenever I've listened to a fellow Christian tell me how they lied to get what they wanted or pull the wool over someone's eyes.
Seriously, it shocks me every single time. And it happens a lot.
Each time I think, "Why are you telling me this? Are you seriously proud of the fact that you LIED?"
Of course, I always get the excuse, "Well, you don't understand…I had to do it." This is often followed by, "It's not that big of a deal… it's just a little lie."
Well, here's the thing: I can't find anywhere in the Bible where God categorizes sins as "big" or "little." They are just called "sins."
Whenever the Bible talks about lying, God seems to think it is a big deal.
After all, he listed it in The Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17) Right there with stealing, adultery, and murder, God includes lying.
Proverbs 12:22 says, "The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in
people who are trustworthy.
I know that's the Old Testament….surely, the New Testament isn't so legalistic. Well, let's see….
Colossians 3:9 says, "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."
Revelations 22:15 says, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
Whoa! Right there, among the sorcerers and the sexually immoral murderers and idolaters, lying is mentioned.
And then there's Ananias and Sapphira. Ask them if they think God takes lying seriously. (Acts 5:1-11)
Still, beyond the issue of "sin" and "eternity" (which are some pretty big issues), one of the reasons that Christians need to adopt the attitude that "there is never a reason to lie" is that we are ambassadors of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:20 says, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us."
As Christians, we represent Christ.
Like the garage door man represented his company, we represent Christ and Christianity to those around us.
What would have happened if the garage door salesman had come to our house, saw that he was going to have a hard time making a sale, and told a lot of lies to get us to buy a cheap, unreliable garage door?
Naturally, when the door deteriorated, and we saw that we'd wasted our money, we'd know he was a liar. But it wouldn't just make him look bad—we'd think the company he represented was crooked, too. We'd tell all our friends and neighbors never to buy a door from this company because they were unreliable, untruthful cheats who promised quality and gave us junk.
The same thing happens whenever a man or woman who calls themselves a Christian lacks integrity, reliability or fails to tell the truth. They don't just make themselves look bad. They are a poor reflection of the entire body of Christ.
The person lied to or deceived often ends us thinking (and telling others), "They were all talk. Claim to be a Christian, then they lied to me. Oh well, par for the course. Who can trust a Christian?"
We've all heard it before.
That's why as followers of Christ, we must be very careful always, to tell the truth and avoid lying at all costs.
We should be models of integrity and reliability.
When we say something, we should do everything possible to make it happen.
When we speak, it should be the truth.
No matter how great the sacrifice, we should go out of our way, to be honest and upright.
Here's something to think about: as Christians, our primary job in life is to bring people to Jesus. It's our responsibility and calling to tell people the truth about God, eternity, sin, and salvation.
However, if those around you know you are a liar or even if a stranger catches you in a lie, why would they ever believe you are speaking the truth about the most critical areas of their lives?
Why would they trust that when you give them advice about their lives and families, invite them to church, share your testimony, and speak the truth in love?
If you have a reputation as someone who lies when convenient, how can they trust you with such monumental choices?
It's a big responsibility and a heavy truth. But it's reality.
It's why all Christians need to examine their hearts, confess any tendency toward lying, and determine from this day forward to adopt the attitude of the garage door salesman. There is never a reason to lie.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."