Why Lying is Wrong

By Matt Provencal, age 14 and Marjorie Foerster Eddington


Why is it wrong to lie or to deceive?


Lying is a commonly underestimated action. Many people just say to themselves, "If I don't get caught, it's fine; it doesn't matter." But actually, it really does. And deceiving someone is just as bad, if not worse. Deceiving someone is actually trying to fool someone into a false sense of truth. And you're making a conscious decision to do wrong. When you lie, you're not only affecting the person you're lying to, but you're also affecting yourself more than anyone else.

Take, for example, the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob took Esau's blessing under false pretenses. Then Jacob became paranoid that Esau was going to kill him or harm him. [Editor's Note: Jacob had to run for his life. He never got to see his mother again. It took a lot of prayer for Jacob to work through this fear until he and Esau restored a right relationship. When Jacob was able to see his brother's face as God's face, all negative effects disappeared, and the two of them became friends again (Gen 33:10).] So when people lie, they're adding a lot of paranoia to their thinking, such as the fear of being caught or being exposed for lying.

Sometimes we hear the phrase "little white lie." But this phrase is in fact false because if you fool someone into believing something fake or untrue, you're still fooling them with a lie, no matter what the magnitude. And lying and deception are both extremely immoral. Deception, which is based on lies, does not have a positive effect on anyone. Take, for example, what Judas did to Jesus. [Editor's Note: He tried to deceive Jesus and betray him "with a kiss" (Luke 22:48). But Judas actually hurt himself. For thirty pieces of silver, he sold his soul, and ended up committing suicide. That definitely is a negative effect.]

Sometimes we may think that we can lie to protect someone, but this actually causes more problems, as lying can only do one thing -- hurt. It can hurt the person you're trying to protect; it can hurt others; it can hurt yourself. You're hurting your morality and your own conscience. In the end, lying comes to get you and makes other people upset.

So whenever I'm tempted to lie, something I do is think, "What would Jesus do?" (WWJD?).

[Editor's Note: And we all know that Jesus always pointed out the lie and spoke the truth!]