I’ve been reading through the book of Genesis a chapter at a time and trying to reinforce and dig deeper into the stories that populated much of my Sunday School-attending youth.
The stories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are ones that have been seared into my consciousness, but pieces of those stories are standing out much more clearly to me as an adult.
One such standout: the lying.
I am seeing the pattern that I didn’t see before of deception and little white lies run amok. It starts early with Abraham. “My wife? No, no, no – she’s my sister!” he tells the Pharoah.
His wife Sarai lets the little white lie roll right off her lips when an angel of the Lord asks if she laughed, doubting that God would grant her a child.
Rebekah and Jacob deceive Isaac for a blessing, going so far as to dress up and wear goat skins for hair arms….which became a curse as Jacob has to leave given the (understandable) hard feelings of his brother.
And then the tables turn and Laban deceives Jacob by giving him the sister he didn’t want to be his wife first.
It keeps on keeping on with example after example.
It seems that lies and deception, while not part of God’s plan for us, are so easy for us to slip into the fabric of our lives. We find ways to rationalize the lies; I’m sure both Abram and Isaac did that when telling ruling leaders that their spouses were their sisters (it will keep us all safe, right?).
But deception always has consequences. Deceit is the domain of Satan himself, and we have to battle against this stronghold in our lives and not rationalize lies, even though we might mistakenly think we have good intentions. Lies can leave a trail of broken and wounded people behind them – the liar and those entangled in its web.
Our best source for guidance – the Bible – doesn’t give us an out or any excuses for not being anything other than honest.
“Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth.” – Psalm 34:13
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” – 1 Peter 2: 1
For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:10-12
We know our best example is Jesus, and 1 Peter 2:22 reminds us that no deceit was found in his mouth. No lies from him – ever.
It’s easy to point to others we’ve seen lie and deceive and declare them the sinner. But if I do that, it points right back to me. Did I fudge the truth? Did I not tell my spouse about that last purchase? Was it just a little white lie?
The good news for us? The pillars of faith listed in Genesis messed up – lied and deceived – but were forgiven children of God. His forgiveness is never far if we turn our hearts back to Him.
Sisters, guard your hearts today from the deceiver and flee from lies and the pain they have. Cling to Jesus – the source of all truth who guards our hearts and minds in that truth!