Telling the truth can be extremely hard for any Christian. It seems like it would be easy, but the truth can hurt, it can cause conflict, and it can be confrontational. That is why many of us would rather avoid it. Not that we want to lie, but rather we would prefer to not say anything at all. Today’s post is going to be about four similar areas: deceit, stealing, swindling, and lies. Let me remind you that these posts on sin are for Christians, not non-Christians because Christians share the same morality and all of us are supposed to follow God’s Word for our lives.
Deceit is defined as “the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.” It isn’t so much telling an out-right lie. Actually, I see “deceit” as being those “little white lies” we like to tell ourselves and others. You see, society (even Christian society) says that little white lies are okay, they aren’t as sinful as the regular lies, the major lies. But that isn’t how God sees it. God sees all sin the same. A lie is a lie to Him and a lie is sinful. There are no degrees of lies that are more or less acceptable to Him, nor should there be for us.
However, I don’t believe deceit is just not telling someone something. I don’t believe we need to tell everyone everything about our lives. Only God needs to know everything. Deceit is concealing the truth, yes, but only when that concealment is harmful. For example, if you are having an affair and you don’t tell anyone, that is deceit. Why? Well, you aren’t lying unless your spouse outright asks you, “Are you having an affair?” and you say, “No.” You just aren’t volunteering the truth. But, is that silence harmful? Of course! Having an affair can and almost always will ruin your marriage. And trust me, God will make the truth come out sooner or later.
Deceit is also when we misrepresent the truth. Let’s say you don’t want to work one day and you call in sick – but you aren’t sick. That is deceit. I’m sorry folks, but it is. You aren’t sick so you are practicing deceit to your boss or whomever you called. Deceit is also when we act like hypocrites. When we tell people to do one thing but we do another thing (usually the opposite thing). That’s why I want to try to always be honest with you guys.
I think we all know that stealing is a sin, but some of us still struggle with it. Maybe it isn’t big things like trying to steal a car or breaking into a store, but maybe you take the pen from the bank or you take credit for something that you didn’t do. That is still stealing and it is a sin.
When we steal we are being deceptive because most people don’t go around yelling, “Hey, I just stole this!” Instead, we are sneaky, trying to be stealthy about it, trying not to be caught. That is how stealing and deceit are related and why they’re in the same post. Also, many people lie if they are caught because they are afraid of the repercussions. And finally, swindling is a form of stealing.
Swindling is defined as to “use deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions.” It is not exactly the same as stealing because stealing usually involves an object, however, you can swindle people out of their possessions. Now, this is a different kind of process from just straight-up stealing. When you steal you do it covertly, stealthily, trying not to get caught. When you swindle, you take a lie and try to sell it as the truth.
For example, there are preachers out there who just want people’s money. It’s sad but it’s true. Now, I’m not saying every TV preacher wants your money. I believe that people like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Steven Furtick, and T.D. Jakes are all true followers of Christ and they only ask for money because the church has bills to pay and they use a lot of that money for mission work. Besides, tithing is required of every believer as an act of faith and obedience. Also, they don’t promise magical things will happen if you give money to them: that you’ll suddenly become rich or get healed or pray your loved one out of hell. But there are people out there (preachers and many others) who will promise you the sun and the moon, but all they want is your money. That is why we must be very careful who we trust and pray about every financial decision we make so God can direct us.
But, we can’t control other people. We can, however, control ourselves. And I can tell you right now that if you are a follower of Christ and you get desperate for money and try to get it deceptively whether by stealing or swindling, God will never bless that. Not only will He not bless it, He’ll make sure you get caught and reap the consequences of your actions. That’s why it is best to stick to legitimate ways of making money and always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, out of all three of the above sins, lying relates to them all. If you are being deceptive, stealing, or swindling, you are probably going to use lies.
When thinking about lies I think about my mom. Stay with me here, I don’t mean what you think! Before I got married, mom and I would watch a lot of Criminal Minds and that show is full of (of course) criminals – people who tortured, raped and murdered other people. And although my mom hated what they did, do you know what she hated even more? The lies they told! She told me that they should at least confess to what they’d done, rather than lying and saying that they were innocent. She told me that she hated lies above all else.
I think lies are probably the area where Christians struggle the most. I don’t think it’s as common for us to want to deceive others, or steal from people, or swindle people out of their money. But we all lie at one time or another.
When my husband asks me if I’m okay and I’m really not, but I tell him, “I’m fine,” that is a lie.
When you blow off a commitment because you just don’t feel like doing it but you tell the other person that you were sick or too busy or you really regretted not being able to make it but you just had (insert excuse here), that is a lie.
Don’t hate me parents, but when you tell your kids that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are real – you’re lying to them. I’m frankly grateful my parents always told me that they were fantasy creatures. It didn’t hurt my childhood any to know they weren’t real. I’d rather believe in Jesus anyway – who is the true meaning of Christmas and Easter. And it actually helped me to appreciate my parents when I knew they were the ones giving me presents for Christmas or making my Easter basket on Easter, or giving me money for lost baby teeth. I didn’t need the fantasy, and I can promise that your kids don’t need it either.
We tell lies a lot. Maybe not every day, but we do lie. I think the biggest area where Christians struggle, though, isn’t in lying to others – it’s in lying to ourselves. When we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, that our situation will never change, that God doesn’t care or isn’t listening, that we have to solve our problems on our own – those are all lies. We are lying to ourselves and not believing or speaking the truth.
No relationship can be built on lies. You shouldn’t lie to your spouse. You shouldn’t lie to your kids. You shouldn’t lie to the person you’re dating. Don’t try to be someone else! If that person can’t like you, and love you, for who you are – faults and all – they aren’t worth your time. God has the right person out there who will love you no matter what. Justin and I choose to love each other through the hard times, even when we act ugly to one another, even when we say or do the wrong things. That doesn’t stop us from loving one another. It might make us angry or frustrated for a time, but it always passes. And I promise you that unless God has called you to a life of singleness (and He does that sometimes) He will bring you the right person at the right time, someone with whom you can be yourself and he or she will love you as you are. So, don’t fake it. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If you do, the truth will come out after marriage and it will make your marriage a lot harder than it needs to be.
Lying is a sin. There are no “white lies,” no lies that are acceptable to God. I love that old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I think that goes with the truth as well. If you can’t tell the truth, don’t say anything.
Now, I’m not talking about being deceptive. Rather, there are some things we shouldn’t say, even if they are the truth. If your friend gets a new haircut and you hate it, don’t tell him or her. It’s already done and as long as he or she likes it, that’s all that matters. If they ask your opinion you can be honest but kind, “If you love it, I love it!” They may not accept that as an answer, but we can’t lie. Now, if you are shopping with your friend and she tries on something and you don’t think it’s flattering, be honest but be honest in love. “You know hon, you’re so beautiful, but that outfit just doesn’t flatter you. Maybe something in this color or this length would be better?” You’re telling the truth but you’re doing it in love.
That’s my final point. When we do need to speak the truth, we need to make sure we’re doing it in love and kindness. Watch your tone of voice! And just remember that sometimes it’s better to be silent. People don’t need to hear our opinions on everything, nor do they need us to tell them how to live their lives. Don’t try to be people’s Holy Spirit!
I love you guys and I am so glad you are reading my blogs! I should be posting something every day from now on, though some posts will be shorter or longer than others.
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