Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 29, 1959
NUMBER 25, PAGE 2-3b

Lies -- White, Black, Yellow, Red

J. D. Tant, Clayton, Oklahoma

While reading the September 18, 1959 issue of the Daily Oklahoman, I ran across an interesting item entitled "White Lies Fail to Worry Teens." The article was rather revealing, and it prompted me to do some studying on the subject of lying. The item was written by Eugene Gilbert, billed as President, Gilbert Youth Research Co.

Following are a few excerpts taken from the article which will most assuredly show the need for somebody (quite a few "somebodies") to do a little plain and simple teaching on the subject.

"It seems to be the judgment of most American teen-agers that a little dishonesty is a necessary thing.

"Our latest sampling of teen-age thought shows the belief to be prevalent that little white lies in the fields of dating, school examinations, and household chores do little harm.

"What seem to the youngsters to be the whitest of all white lies, we found in questioning 656 of them across the nation, is lying about one's age in order to get a summer job. Ninety-two percent saw nothing wrong with it.

"Another fabrication teen-agers often regard as the better part of valor is telling their parents they returned home from a date earlier than they actually did. Eighty-one percent, with boys outnumbering girls, gave their approval of this white lie.

"More than half of the youngsters — 64 percent of the boys and 52 percent of the girls — admit they would tell their mother they couldn't perform a household chore because they had to do something else for school, even if the school work existed only in their imaginations.

" I don't want to work at home nearly as much as I want to play,' says (a) 14-year-old ...

"Half of the youngsters queried said they would accept help on an examination for which they weren't properly prepared because of absence.

"Asked if they would cheat on an examination for which they simply had not studied enough, 41 percent said yes. 'I don't like to fail,' . . ."

These facts are an indictment against the thinking and moral values of many of the younger generation. But, before a wholesale condemnation against them is made, we must remember where it was that many of these ideas originated. In large degree, it stems from the training, or lack of training, in the home.

When the child saw the parent lie (a white lie, mind you) over the phone about an unwanted social invitation, or heard the mother tell the caller at the door, "I'm sorry, my husband isn't in," when he was in — in the closet, or witnessed the sweet smile given to the policeman accompanied with the words, "But, officer, this car won't go over 23," then what can we expect? Scrupulous honesty from the child? Certainly not!

Naturally, lying has its advantages (especially to the devil), for one can certainly remove himself from a difficult or embarrassing situation. Lies can be used to gain an advantage over some foe (or even friend), and last but not least, they can help line one's pockets with silver. I have especially found this last part true while buying used cars from some local "Honest John Doe." Of course, it was to his advantage — certainly not mine.

But what is a lie? Mr. Webster (an intellectually honest scholar) says: "A falsehood uttered or acted to deceive — anything which deceives; as, his cordiality was a lie ... syn... prevaricate implies evasion of the truth, as by quibbling, dodging, etc. . . . equivocate — the use of words having more than one sense in the hope that a sense not intended will be accepted."

Therefore, we can lie by (1) telling a deliberate falsehood, (2) acting a hypocrite, (3) silence which leaves the wrong impression, and (4) helping a person to get the wrong idea or impression from our words or deeds.

We can pick any color in the spectrum, attach it to the word "lie" and still it's a lie, spelled "I-i-e!"

And what has been God's attitude towards liars? We can turn to II Kings 5:20-27 and see what happened to Gehazi. He lied to Naaman and Elisha, getting as a reward silver, clothing, and the words "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever."

Ananias and Sapphira "gave up the ghost" when their plot of words and deeds was laid open. And poor Herod was a meal for worms when he lied by his silence in not giving God the glory as we read in Acts 12:20-23. Proverbs 6:16-19 gives a list of seven things that are an abomination to Jehovah. It is significant to note that lying has part in two of the seven — "a lying tongue," and "a false witness that uttereth lies."

The attitude man should have for a liar is also plain. The 40th Psalm says in verse 4: "Blessed is the man that maketh Jehovah his trust, And respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." The Psalmist declares in 101:7 that he will have no company with a liar. Solomon expressed the same sentiment in Prov. 30:58. Solomon also said "A righteous man hateth lying." (Prov. 13:5.)

The descriptions of the liar are quite vivid. "A man that beareth false witness against his neighbor is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow. Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon soda ..." Prov. 25:1820. Prov. 19:22 also says that "a poor man is better than a liar." Take heed, those who would be rich by dishonesty!

The liar is classed with the murderers and adulterers. (Matt. 15:18-20.) Christ called liars children of the Devil. (John 8:44.) Do you hate your brother, yet profess to love God? Better read I John 4:20!

And what has the Lord promised for us if we insist on making use of lies, whether white, black, vermillion, or purple? Prov. 19:5, 9 says we shall not escape, while Revelation 21:27 and 22:15 show in unmistakable language that such a one will be positively excluded from heaven. Rev. 21:8 offers further incentive by suggesting that the liar will be cast into the lake of fire. A warming thought!

Before yielding to temptation the next time, read Psalms 24:4. "Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah? And who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; Who hath not lifted up his soul unto falsehood, And hath not sworn deceitfully." Then read Col. 3:5-9 where we learn that lying was a part of the old man, not the new. So let us act like new men!

I've said all that to say this: If we will remember and teach these things (as well as practice truth), then we will be leading our children and others to heaven instead of hell, and maybe Mr. Gilbert's job will be more pleasant.