It happens to each one us – from time to time it is difficult for us to tell the truth all the time. We’re faced with dozens of large and small choices everyday: do we tell our boss or teacher the real reason our project was late? We are adults with jobs, relationships, and responsibilities, and we have nothing to fear, but we do not say the truth anyway. Why? Let’s see, together, why this happens. First, let’s look at some of the reasons we are prone to lying and let us check Bible verses and quotes about telling the truth.
We inherited a sinful nature
We inherit genetic material from our mother and father. Our hair and eye color, height, and other information is encoded in our DNA at a microscopic level. Something else that has been passed out from generation to generation is sin. Original sin is part of our spiritual inheritance.
How did that happen!? I thought I was a good person!
In the beginning of the Scripture, God created the Garden of Eden – the perfect place for men to live and fellowship with Him. God explicitly told Adam, the first man, that he must not eat from that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tempted Eve with the fruit, and she gave in. Then Eve gave Adam some of the fruit to eat too. When Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God’s command, they lost their innocence and were cast out of the garden – out of God’s presence. Sin had consequences for Adam and Eve and the rest of mankind. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, mankind was cursed with suffering, pain, and death (Genesis 3).
Our natural inclination is towards sin – lying, cheating, selfishness.
Imagine that you are pulled over for running a red light or speeding. You have a choice when the police officer asks us, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” You can tell the police officer a lie (“I was going the speed limit”) even though the officer has tools that allow him to read the speed of cars that pass or cameras that capture cars going through red lights.
What stops us to tell the truth when we are confronted with a choice? It comes down to fear. We are afraid to face the consequences of our actions.
We want to make ourselves look good
In the early days of the church believers were selling their stuff and giving the proceeds to the apostles. Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property. They gave a portion of the money to the apostles, but they lied and said it was the whole amount. The lie resulted in their deaths. (Acts 5:1-11)
Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look good in front of the apostles, but they also wanted to keep some of the money. We do the same thing! We exaggerate in order to make ourselves look good in front of other people.
Bible verses and quotes about telling the truth
God takes the truth very seriously. The book of Leviticus is full of laws and regulations for the Israelites to follow including: “Do not steal, Do not lie, Do not deceive one another.” Leviticus 19:11 (NIV) “Do not bear false witness” is one of the Ten Commandments.
“Always tell the truth!” sounds like an impossible standard, right? It is. Telling the truth consistently is not something we can do in our own strength.
Is it possible to change behavior on our own? No, it isn’t. The only way our hearts can be changed is through the grace of God! Here’s the good news: Jesus Christ came to Earth as a man, fully God and fully human. Jesus told believers: “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)
Here are some steps to learn to tell the truth:
Be honest with God
Being honest with God requires us to face the ugliest and most uncomfortable parts of ourselves. However, lying is sin and like all sins, it has to be dealt with through confession and repentance. Lying is a sin, and sin hurts God. By confessing our sins we acknowledge that what we have done is wrong. We need God’s grace and forgiveness (1 John 1:9). By confessing our sin we allow the Holy Spirit to begin working in our hearts.
Submerge yourself in the Word and Prayer
Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
God’s Word has the power to change our lives (Hebrews 4:12) if we are willing to immerse ourselves in it. The better we know the Word, the closer we grow to God. Fair warning: the process is not easy. It is uncomfortable because it goes against all our natural tendencies. If you want to deal with a habit of lying than you must set aside your own comfort.
The Bible is a big book! Not sure where to start?
- Look up verses on the topic of honesty (i.e., Ephesians 4:25, James 1:26, Proverbs 10:9).
- Pray for God to open your heart and mind so He can speak to you
- Read each verse over and over. Write it on an index card and put it in a place you’ll see it.
- Reflect on the verse and ask yourself, ‘What does this verse say about my behavior?’ ‘What does this verse teach me about God’s character?’ and ‘How can I apply this verse in my daily life?’
- Recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight. Be persistent and continually pray and reflect.
A powerful tool for dealing with sin is sharing your struggles with other believers. I’m not saying to shout your struggles from the mountain top. Choose a trusted believer (like a pastor or chaplain) and ask them if you can talk to them privately.
An accountability partner can help you process your struggles and the underlying causes. Often mentors are helpful because they can say, “I’ve been there! I know what you’re going through!” and, “I know it’s possible to get through this!”
Other example of personal sharing could be the confession practiced in the Catholic Church. People have the opportunity to go to confession and there is a personal discussion with the priest about the process of liberation from sin.
Practice to tell the truth in big and small things
Prayer and confession, Scripture reading and prayer, and meeting with an accountability partner are all powerful tools. Begin putting honest into practice by taking opportunities to tell the truth in both big and small things. Ask God to give you learning opportunities and to guide you. When you find yourself facing the choice to tell the truth or a lie, choose to tell the truth.
Like I said before, change doesn’t happen overnight. We are humans and we make mistakes. If you make a mistake than extend grace to yourself and remember that God is with you.
God is awesome!
As humans we inherited a sinful nature. We all have struggles with different sins like the habit of lying. In order to overcome sin, we must confess our sins. God can change our behaviors through the Bible, prayer, and the Holy Spirit. God is always with us, no matter what.