Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 28, 2019

Lies & Truth

(3 Minute Read)

What is the most common sin humans commit against each other?

Is it one of the big three sins — theft, murder, or adultery?

No, I think not. One particular sin is so common that I think everybody alive today has committed it at least once — and probably many times in their lives.

It’s not murder. Many people have never committed murder.

It’s not adultery. Many people have never committed adultery.

It’s not stealing. Many people have never stolen.

I think the most common sin people commit against each other is lying.

Dishonesty, deception, and fraud are rampant throughout human interactions, social relationships, politics, and business. Some politicians, for example, seem to lie almost constantly. Many news organizations are purposely deceitful in reporting news. “Let no one deceive you with empty words” is the timely caution of Ephesians 5:6!

According to several research studies cited in Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception by Pamela Meyer, most people encounter almost 200 lies daily (Liespotting, p.5).

Most of these 200 lies are like this one:
“Sure, I’d love to see all your cat pictures!”

But the studies say about 10 a day are significant, damaging lies that affect your career, your business, your social life, or your personal relationships.

Lies have changed the course of human history — on both a personal level and a global scale. How many marriages have been wrecked by deceit? How many governments have been toppled by dishonesty?

Lies started at the Beginning when Satan lied to Eve about eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan lied when he told Eve, “You surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:4)

According to Jesus, Satan is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). He started the whole deception ball rolling with Eve, and the ball hasn’t stopped since.

Another early lie was when Cain lied to God after he had murdered his brother Abel. God asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain lied, “I do not know.” (Genesis 4:1-15)

Ever since, truth and lies have been an issue for the human race.

How Do You Spot Lies?

“Repeated studies have shown that the average adult can distinguish truth from falsehood only 54% of the time. . . . This statistic is relevant only for the instances when we suspect someone may be lying to us. The more confident we are in our ability to detect lies, the worse we are at it.”
(Pamela Meyer, Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, 2010, p.7)

Police, FBI, and military interrogators are trained in techniques to detect deception. They are taught to analyze body language, facial expressions, and speech patterns to recognize lies.

Many books and online videos purport to explain these methods of detecting lies. One is Pamela Meyer’s TED talk How to spot a liar. She covers some of ways to spot lies and argues that honesty is a value worth preserving.

Several thousand years ago, a Roman governor was tasked with discerning the truth of death penalty accusations. He asked a crucial question of a haggard prisoner.
“What is truth?” demanded the Roman governor.

The governor’s question, “What is truth?” is a crucial question. It is possibly the most fundamental and practical question of all time. It’s a question most people frequently ask as they try to ascertain the truth in many situations.

One of the most effective preparations for detecting truth is one that is often overlooked. The principle is illustrated in the detection of counterfeit money. At one time, in order to train bank tellers to recognize counterfeit paper money, they were given large amounts of genuine money to handle. The idea was that if they knew what real money looked like, felt like, and smelled like, then they would easily recognize counterfeit bills.

Street Preacher
Union Square, New York City

I believe this principle can apply to detecting deception. Extensive exposure to truth can help you recognize truth and recognize its counterfeit.

Truth Exposure

How do you massively expose yourself to truth?

The answer the haggard prisoner had already told the governor gives a clue. In the most extreme danger, on trial for His life, the prisoner asserted a powerful truth claim as He testified before the governor,
For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)

The haggard prisoner on trial for His life before the Roman governor Pilate was Jesus. His accusers who sought His death were His own people, the Jews.

Jesus based His life and ministry on truth, and He emphatically claimed to speak, teach, and be the truth. Fully 77 times He began His teaching with, “Truly, I say to you, …“.

He said,
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:33).

Additionally, He made these statements about speaking the truth:
My witness is true.” (John 8:14)
My judgment is true.” (John 8:16)
I speak the truth.” (John 8:45)
I am the truth.” (John 14:6).

Even His enemies acknowledged that He was “truthful and taught the way of God in truth” (Matthew 22:16).

The One who is Truth explicitly told how to know truth:
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Soaking oneself in the words of Jesus and His Word will cause you to know the truth. Do this by listening to the Word, reading the Word, studying the Word, memorizing the Word, and meditating on the Word. Delight yourself in the Word.
The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.
(Psalm 119:160)

This continual repeated exposure to Scripture will help you spot lies.

Questions to Ponder

1. What is one practical way you can soak yourself in the words of Jesus today?
2. Will you catch yourself today when you might slide into deceitfulness — and deliberately shift to “speaking the truth in love”? (Ephesians 4:15)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the sequel:
The Truth About Lies

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday August 28, 2019 A.D.

Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.. (John 17:17)

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  1. Thanks for the truth about lies.

    It seems counter-intuitive, but we lie to ourselves, and I suspect that most lie to themselves more than they lie to others. Perhaps we tell 99 lies to ourselves before we tell one lie to another! Hyperbole? Of course it is. Perhaps I should have said man lies to himself 199 times before he tells one lie to another.

    Every act of pride is the result of the prideful one lying to his/her self. Pride in yourself is typically stealing glory from God; being proud of self and not crediting God is a lie to self. Scripture teaches that we are aware that we are going to sin before we commit a sin. When we commit the sin anyway, and tell ourselves that “it’s not a sin, there will be no consequences,” we lie to ourselves.

    How many times does a man or woman lie to themselves while standing in front of the mirror primping and preening? I only know my own mind, and I know that when I’m not guarding my heart and my mind how I can so easily lie to myself. We don’t have to know the mind of another to know they lie to themselves too. We can observe it. Their actions reveal that they are lying to themselves. Observe an NFL receiver make a great catch, pick up a critical 1st down, and then watch how he will carry on, displaying for the fans his most immediate lie about what he thinks of his status in the world (his self image). We see politicians, entertainers, children, and just about every category of human beings expressing themselves similarly for their own reasons.

    It’s not surprising that the same wicked flesh that so easily lies to others will be just as inclined to lie to itself.


    • Excellent points. Thanks for these thoughts. You are so right — pride always involves a lie — to oneself.
      (See The Truth About Lies for more discussion of John’s points.)


  2. We sin because we are sinners, which is probably the reason that people lie every day without even realizing it. There are some people who are willing to deceive for the sake of their purpose (the end justifies the means). I even had to deal with someone who insist on calling people “liars” because they say things he does not like. He “proves” his accusations by repeating the accusations. Atheists accuse Christians and creationists of lying about atheism and evolution, but that is irrational from the get-go. Study on it for a spell: we are proclaiming God, who is holy and righteous, but will deceive to get someone there. Weird.
    -Cowboy Bob Sorensen


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