Why Is Lying Such a Big Deal?

No one had to teach me how to lie; I was spinning the truth almost as soon as I learned to talk. It came naturally, as you can see from this funny example my mom journaled about when I was just three years old:

Paula came to me today with diaper rash cream all over her hands and said, “The top came off.” She had spread it on the bottoms of two cloth clowns and put blankets over their bottoms (diapers, you know).

It’s a humorous story, but bending the truth—no matter how young we are—is never cute or innocent. We all have plenty of experience with lying, though. It’s human nature to cover up and cast ourselves in the best light whenever we think we might get into trouble. We’ve been doing that ever since Adam and Eve played the first blame-shifting game in the Garden.

So if lying comes almost as naturally as breathing to us since our first parents’ (Adam and Eve’s) fall into sin, how can we ever tell the truth? Or how about . . . what should motivate us to always tell the truth?

Several years ago right here on this blog, I asked, “What motivates you not to lie?” Many of you responded like this girl:

You know, the whole “don’t lie” thing. God doesn’t want me to lie. Why would I flat out disobey Him in something like that?

Why Not Lie?

It’s true that God commands us not to lie, but I think we need to dig deeper. Why does God hate lying? Why does lying make the top Ten Commandments cut?

You ready? Here are two reasons.

1. God can’t lie.

When God tells you and me not to lie, it’s because God never lies.

Did you know that God’s commands reflect His character?

When God tells you and me not to lie, it’s because God never lies. In fact, He cannot lie. Here are just a couple verses that point this out:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num. 23:19).

God, who never lies (Titus 1:2).

Why can’t God lie? Because God is true. That’s just who He is. In fact, Jesus said that He Himself is truth:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, emphasis added).

You may have had people break your trust right and left. You might wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. But you never have to wonder when reading God’s words if He is exaggerating a bit, if He is stretching the truth, if He is being insincere, or if He will go back on His word. God never lies; He always keeps His promises.

But what does this truth about God have to do with us not lying? Well, because . . .

2. We are created to represent God.

God has created us in His image. We are made to represent and image Him rightly to the world around us.

God cannot lie, and we are made in God’s image. Our purpose is to show the world the truth about who God is and what He is like:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:26–27).

When we lie, we misrepresent Him and act more like Satan:

“He [Satan] . . . does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, emphasis added).

God has created us in His image. We are made to represent and image Him rightly to the world around us.

How to Stop Lying and Start Loving Truth

But what if you have done more misrepresenting Him by your lies than representing Him by loving the truth?

Well, begin by telling the truth to yourself and to Him. I love how this blog reader put it once in the comments section:

The person I lie most to is myself. I lie (and deny) my sins because I am too ashamed to admit them before such a beautiful God. I even try to lie to myself that God isn’t as awesome as He is, in an attempt to make my sin shrink and feel less guilty. It never works.

After being honest about your sin in this area, here are two more important steps.

1. Embrace the truth about your lying. Confess and repent of this sin, and put all your trust in Jesus to be your perfect substitute.

Jesus is both the only man who never told a single lie and the only God who willingly gave His life so that liars like you and me might be credited as being perfect truth-tellers. He is the perfect God-Man who never lied. He is the way to the Father, the truth, and our life.

2.Put off lying and put on truth-telling.

Colossians 3:9–10 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.

Obeying God always includes a negative and a positive command. A putting off and a putting on. It’s not enough to just stop lying. You were made to love the truth, to tell the truth, to delight in the truth.

How is this possible? If you’ve trusted in Jesus, Romans 6:1–4 tells us that when Jesus died, our old, lying self died, too. When Jesus was buried, our old, lying self was buried, too. And when Jesus burst out of that sealed tomb with new resurrection life, we were raised with Him, as brand-new, truth-telling, truth-loving girls pulsating with His life. Do you believe this? If so, go tell and love the truth, girl!

Okay, pop quiz time: Why is lying such a big, hairy deal? How has lying impacted your own life? Ready, set, go!

About Author

Paula Marsteller no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her two young sons and seeking to practice "radically ordinary hospitality." She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in Central New York. You can catch her writing on

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