“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25
Have you ever heard of the game “Two truths and a lie?” Each player has the opportunity to share two true statements or stories about themselves and one lie. The rest of the players then determine which statement was false. I’ve always viewed this game as a fun way to get to know people and the interesting details about their lives. Depending on the group you’re playing with, you can hear some pretty crazy and very hilarious stories! Since I’ve never been a very good liar, I’ve had to learn how to embellish the truth when I play this game, taking a true story and adding false details to it. While “Two truths and a lie” is just a game, the unfortunate reality is that many of us have taken this approach in life.
As Paul continues to describe what the new life in Christ looks like, I’m not surprised that he included this one verse about truth telling. Considering that “Thou shall not lie” was also included in the Ten Commandments, I think it’s safe to say that this is a pretty big deal to God. The exaggeration of details or half-truths are just as dishonest as telling a blatant lie. In God’s economy, where the standard of living is holiness, I think we can dispense with the notion that there is such a thing as a “white lie.” A lie is a lie is a lie. It’s that simple, and when we distort the truth in any way, we are guilty of this.
Ephesians 4:25 instructs us to “put away falsehood.” While cheating, making promises we can’t keep, betraying a confidence, offering false excuses, exaggerating the truth, and withholding information are all forms of lying, these behaviors are not at all fitting for a follower of Jesus Christ. These patterns are the things that marked and characterized our lives before Christ, but they have no place in the life of the believer. Not only is Paul saying that we should not lie, but also that we should take no part in falsehood of any kind. This would include engaging in dishonest conversations, gossip, cutting corners at work, or allowing anyone else to do so. Some, if not most of these things have become the norm, and to act any different would almost cause us to stick out like a sore thumb.
Which is exactly the point.
Jesus Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Nearly every time He opened His mouth, He would begin by saying, “Truly, truly I say unto to…” Whenever He spoke, He spoke truth. God is a God of truth, and His work in this world is based entirely upon truth. Therefore, if we are not truthful in all things, how can we be fit instruments for the Lord’s use? We were never intended to “fit in” to this world. Because we are new creations in Christ, we stand as lights in this world, illuminating the darkness, speaking truth in a world of lies, and standing out, not blending in. This is why Paul emphasizes this here.
Stop lying. Start speaking truth.
We greatly misrepresent Christ when we bear His name and false witness at the same time. While the temptation to lie is great, the power we’ve been given to overcome temptation is greater. When we choose to operate in falsehood and deceitfulness, we unite ourselves with the father of lies himself, Satan. Lying is his native tongue. Whenever he opens his mouth, lies pour out. We’ve been called to a higher standard. We’ve been given a greater purpose. Speak truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This is the new life you’ve been called to in Christ. Walk in it.