September 20, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. - Leviticus 19:11.
These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue…. - Proverbs 6:16-17a.
Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. - Ephesians 4:25.
A Subway restaurant in North Platte, Nebraska did not know that they had a CIA operative working for them undercover. At least, that is what Joshua Shores, their 34-year-old employee told them after he was seen on a surveillance video putting $502.00 into his pocket. He should have been putting the money into the store’s safe. He advised the police and a judge that there was no cause for worry because of his CIA status the agency would reimburse the money. He also said the reason he was working for Subway was that he had lost his CIA badge and was waiting for a new one to be sent from the agency.
At least Joshua had a somewhat original tale to tell even though it was rather tall. I have not heard what kind of trouble Joshua is in - probably the charge was "theft by employee" which would likely be a felony. Hopefully, Joshua will learn that telling tall tales will not get you out of legal trouble. He would have been much better served by having simply told the truth that he had stolen the money and by giving back what he had left of it with a sincere "I’m sorry" along with a promise of repaying the rest.
We tend in this modern world with all of the violence, sexual immorality and the rest to look at lying as a minor offense. However, it is in God’s top seven of things that He hates which would appear to indicate that it is not a minor issue. Lying after all is still sin and God hates sin. God hates sin because He is holy and sin is evil. God is righteous and sin is a demonstration of unrighteousness.
It is sad but I know some people who are liars. They are liars because they continually lie. If they had a choice between telling the truth and telling a lie even when it made no difference they would still tell a lie. They have told lies for so long that they no longer remember what the truth is about the past. It is hard for me to be around them because I am always wondering whether what they are saying is true or whether it is just another lie. I would like to believe them but because of their continual lying, I have reached a point where I find it hard to believe anything they say.
The will of God is clear about this issue of lying. In Romans 12:19 we are told, "Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." We must hate what God hates and love what God loves. We too must hate lying and love the truth. Jesus is the manifestation of truth. He is, "the way, the TRUTH, and the life (John 14:6)…."
The desire of our hearts in regard to lying and deceiving should be the same as that of the apostle Paul. Paul says in Acts 24:16, "…I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men." As another translation puts it, "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man." It might sound more exciting to say that you are an undercover CIA operative who has lost his badge but do you really think anyone is going to believe you? We should always strive to keep a clear conscience before God and man by being truthful in all of our interactions with others.