We’ve been studying what the Bible has to say about communication, and this week it’s all about how important it is that we all tell the truth. All the time. We need to be deeply committed, as the saying goes, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in our marital communication, and you better believe we’re going to need some help from God! But before we dive into that, let’s have a little recap of what we’ve already covered in this Communicating God’s Way Series:
Week One – Introduction – Basic Biblical Concepts around Communication
Week Two – How to Get Rid of that Pesky Log in Your Eye
Week Three – Learn to Listen
Week Four – Our Asinine Tendency to Presume and Assume
Week Five – Common Manipulation Tactics and How to Respond Part One
Week Six – Common Gaslighting Tactics and How to Respond Part Two
Last time we spent quite a bit of time talking about some of the most common tactics used by manipulators and gas-lighters. We learned, not just how to recognize these dangers, but some basics of how to respond to them. A theme we saw running throughout those responses was, “speak the truth in love.” So now, let’s spend some time learning how absolutely vital it is that our communication within our marriages be rooted in truth. Always.
The Lies We Believe
Proverbs 14:8 – The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
Absolutely foundational to our ability to tell the truth, is our knowledge OF the truth, and of its importance. Our inborn nature tells us that keeping the truth hidden is a means to self-preservation. We instinctually believe telling people what they want to hear, instead of what is true, will lead to better jobs, better relationships, greater success, fewer fights, and greater happiness all around. But true wisdom (that rooted in Scripture) tells a different story.
Proverbs 17:20 – The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.
Proverbs 27:5-6 – An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Proverbs 21:6 – Wealth created by a lying tongue is as vanishing as a mist and a deadly trap.
Proverbs 19:1 – Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool.
Proverbs 19:9 – A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.
I’ve thought and thought about it over the years, what makes us (me) so quick to believe we’re going to be safer if we tell a lie, or at the very least say nothing, than if we tell the truth? Why, when I know how important the truth is to God, do I still cower into deception?
The only answer that really seems to satisfy me is, because we are (I am) full of pride. First of all, we believe we’ll get away with it; second, we want to appear better than we really are; and finally, our wicked hearts enjoy delving into those dark places in secret. Basically, it’s because we’re sinners!
John 8:43-45 – Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell you the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!
But the good news is, though that may be our (my) natural instinct, it is not who we have to be anymore. We have been set free from the clutches of the enemy, and we can choose to submit ourselves to the Lord. We can apply His truth to the lies our pride tells us to believe.
- Pride’s Lie #1 – I’ll get away with it.
- God’s Truth – Proverbs 12:19 – Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.
- Pride’s Lie #2 – I need to appear better than I really am.
- God’s Truth – Proverbs 28:13 – People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
- Pride’s Lie #3 – Indulging in our secret sins brings pleasure.
- God’s Truth – Galatians 6:7-8 – Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
Colossians 3:9 – 10 – Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.
What Does God Say About the Truth?
Though we are intuitively predisposed to keep secrets, deceive, and outright lie, the Bible is about as clear as it could possibly be that God is passionate about honesty. It probably has something to do with the fact that He IS truth! From the beginning He has commanded His people to tell the truth (Leviticus 19:11-12, Exodus 20:16, Matthew 5:37), and He has revealed His passionate distaste for lies throughout Scripture.
Proverbs 12:22 – The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth.
Proverbs 6:16-19 – There are six things the Lord hates – no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
Revelation 21:8 – But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars – their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Seriously, we could go on and on and on with this. I could hit my self-imposed 2000-word limit for blog posts with nothing more than verses that make it clear our God wants His people to tell the truth! (1 Timothy 4:1-2, Revelation 22:14-15, Psalm 5:6, Psalms 101:6-8, Proverbs 19:9, Proverbs 15:4, Acts 5: 3-5, Romans 3:10-18, Proverbs 13:5, Zephaniah 3:13, 1 Peter 3:9-12, Psalms 120:1-4, and SO many more!)
So if we know God is good and His ways are better than our own, leading to a life marked by all things working together for our good and His glory; and if we also know His desire is for us to tell the truth no matter what, then it must mean there is some higher benefit for us in a life lived committed to total honesty. So even though our instincts tell us otherwise, we need to learn to understand and believe the benefits God has for those who live with integrity in this area.
When we Tell the Truth
John 8:31-32 – Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I’ll cut straight to the point here. There is freedom in honesty, and a marked lack thereof in deception. When we tell the truth, no matter the perceived implications, we release our intrinsic need to control and instead choose to trust God. And my friends, joy and peace are found there!
Proverbs 12:20 – Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!
Proverbs 26:28 – A lying tongue hates its victims and flattering words cause ruin.
Psalms 145:18 – The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.
When I am more concerned with covering my own rear end than I am with obedience to God, my life begins to be filled with what boils down to evil plotting. I waste time thinking about ways to avoid having to address the issue I’m trying to keep hidden. Anxiety creeps in as I worry about every possible wrench that may get thrown into my plan, and how that might get me into trouble, and how I’ll be able to talk my way out of it if it happens.
On the other hand, when I trust God with the outcome and just choose obedience, I free myself up to experience joy. I also demonstrate love to the people in my life by honoring them with the truth and allowing them to choose how they’ll respond rather than trying to preemptively manage their reactions. But most of all, I release God to create peace in areas I was certain would bring strife. (Ephesians 6:14, John 16:13, 1 John 3:18)
1 Peter 2:1 – So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.
Ephesians 4:14-15 – Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Ephesians 4:21-27 – Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body...
Indeed, let us stop telling lies and in obedience to God, replace that tendency with active truth telling. Let’s allow this practice to become a part of our whole life, but let’s be especially committed to it within our marriages. For even more than we are one body with our fellow believers, we are united into one flesh with one another in marriage! Let’s honor each other enough to tell the truth!
*How about you? What makes it the most difficult for you to tell the truth? How can you apply the principles of Scripture in that area in order to find victory and live in obedience?