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by Katrina Cassel

Why are you lying? Is it for one of these reasons?

 Brad paused at the door of his home. He’d have to face his parents sooner or later. It might as well be now, he figured. By now she’s told them, and I’m in for it!

It seemed like no big deal to tell his mother that he was going to Greg’s house to study, then go to the mall with Shaun instead. If his parents didn’t object to his hanging around Shaun, he wouldn’t have lied. Then, of all things, he ran into his sister and her friends in the mall!
Jason paused at the water’s edge. This was it—either tell the truth or jump in! The thought ran through Jason’s head, Why did Ramon have to start bragging about all his swim trophies! Before he realized what he was saying, he’d told Ramon and everybody else standing around that he’d won the swim race at camp the past summer. Win a race? He didn’t even know how to swim! He’d tried to get out of coming to the youth swimming party, but his parents insisted that he attend. Confess or jump in? he wondered.
Why we lie
Lies always catch up with us. The more we lie, the more we have to try to remember the lies to not become trapped by them. Usually, though, we become tangled in their web. Why do we lie? There are several reasons.
You fear punishment. You are out with friends, and you’re supposed to be home by 10 p.m. You were so busy having fun that it’s now 10:30 p.m. When you get home, if you tell your parents the truth, they’ll ground you. It just seems easier to say that your friend’s parents’ car trouble caused you to be late.
The better solution? Be responsible. When you aren’t, truthfully admit it. Lying will only make the situation worse. After all, the ninth commandment says: “You shall not give false testimony” (Exodus 20:16, NIV).*
You don’t like your parents’ rules. Say your parents have a rule that you can’t date until you’re 16. That’s a year away, and there’s a girl you really like who’s crazy about you! So you say you’re going to a friend’s house, but you meet up with your girlfriend instead.
Lying is always the wrong choice. Ephesians 6:1 says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (NIV). Talk to your parents about the rule you don’t like. Try to listen to their reasoning, and work out a compromise. If they find out you’re lying to them to break a rule, don’t expect them to be willing to discuss changing the rule.
You want to impress others. Everyone but you seems to have a billion things they’re good at doing. Your talents and accomplishments don’t match up to theirs, so you invent a few.
Wrong decision! You can’t base your self-worth on other people’s accomplishments. You’ve been created in God’s image, and He accepts you because of Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf. This should be the basis of your self-worth. David wrote: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14, NIV).
It’s not wrong to want to be good at something. God has given you talents and gifts—discover them. Then work to develop your gifts and abilities so that you can use them to serve God.
You want to “fit in” with others. Your friends decide it’s not cool to go to church. So you say, “Church? Me? You gotta be kidding!”
Stand up for your beliefs and values. Don’t be ashamed to take a stand against peer pressure—all kinds of peer pressure. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Then you can say, as did the apostle Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NIV).
You want something. You’re at the fair, and you see a sign that says, “Ages 15 and under  half-price admission.” Everyone says you look 14, so you decide to take advantage of it and save yourself a few bucks.
You probably won’t get caught, but you’ll  blow up your Christian testimony if your friends see you do it. Also, you’ll compromise your sense of integrity. Proverbs 11:3 promises: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (NIV). It’s not worth compromising your integrity just to save a few bucks.
What lying accomplishes:
• It causes people to lose their trust in you.
• It causes you to compromise your integrity.
• It hurts you, and it hurts others.
• It blows up your Christian testimony.
Maybe you try to excuse lies with, “It was just a little lie. It won’t hurt anyone.” God has a different view of lying. It’s actually on His list of things that He detests (see Proverbs 6:16-19). “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful,” (Proverbs 12:22, NIV).
The next time you catch yourself starting to say something you know isn’t true, stop, consider the consequences, and tell the truth.
*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright  1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Katrina Cassel, M.Ed., lives with her husband, five of their children, and an assortment of pets in the Florida panhandle.

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