We now come to 'Disease' Number Four: Lying.
We need to be careful that we use the right word to describe this 'disease' of the tongue. Somebody has used the phrase, "evang–e-l-a-s-t-i-c–ally speaking." The evangelist sees 200 people come forward in his crusade and by the time the report is in his newsletter, it is 500. What is that – exaggeration or lying? It is really lying. I do not mention this to be critical of others. It is important that every one of us be very careful that we are not found guilty of lying.
In Proverbs 6:16-19, the writer tells of seven things that the Lord hates. Hate is a very strong word. This is what it says:
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (NIV)
Out of those seven specific things that the Lord hates, there are three that are related to the tongue: first, "a lying tongue"; second, "a false witness" (obviously that affects the tongue also); third, "a man who stirs up dissension among brothers" (and normally the way that dissension is stirred up is by words). So out of seven things that the Lord hates, there are three that affect the tongue, and of those three, two are specifically connected with lying. This is stated again in Proverbs 12:22:
“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” (NIV)
In that verse, we have two sets of opposites. We have the word "detest" and the word "delight." "The LORD detests lying lips... he delights in men who are truthful." There is nothing in between.
Then we have the other two opposites, "lying" and "truthful." Again, there is nothing in between. If it is not truthful, it is a lie. If it is a lie, the Lord detests it. If it is truthful, the Lord delights in it.
Dear Lord, please help me through Your Holy Spirit to always be truthful as it is so easy to sometimes exaggerate just a little bit. I want You to delight in me, Lord. I pray that You would keep me from being a false witness or stirring up dissension. May my words always be rooted in Your love and grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.