Little White Lies

by Jan Silvious

How honest are you?

Oh, I doubt that you would rob a bank or cheat on your income tax. You might not even lie about your age. But what about shading the truth just a little in order to project yourself in the best possible light? Some people call this kind of indirect dishonesty, "little white lies."

Check yourself out:

Do you always try to fit into every situation so you will not make waves and call negative attention to yourself?

Do you keep your ideas to yourself because someone might think you are odd?

Do you hide your hurt feelings, yet drop sarcastic hints that something is wrong?

Do you keep quiet if someone asks you a question that makes you feel vulnerable?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have developed an intricate pattern of deception which , on the surface, appears almost righteous!

Telling a blatant falsehood is not the only way to lie. In a pamphlet from Last Days Ministries entitled Openness and Honesty, Melody Green gives us a new perspective on the subject:

Many who are consistently dishonest about their true feelings would jump up in self-righteousness if anyone dared accuse them of being a liar. But let's take a closer look at what lying really is.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines lying as: "A false statement or piece of information deliberately presented as being true; anything meant to deceive or give a wrong impression."

For most of us, myself included, there is a fear that the person you really are would not be loved as much as the person everyone thinks you are. So, to protect yourself from discovery, you paint a very different picture of what is going on inside. This kind of self-protective cover-up is rooted in the fear of rejection, the fear of others.

The Scriptures have something to say about that: "The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure" (Prov. 2925 NRSV). If you have fallen into habitual lying because you fear what others will think of you, ask God to show you how subtle and insidious it can be.

Satan is the father of lies. Therefore, all lying is sin and has no place in the life of a believer. Repent today of all the "little white lies" of which you have been guilty. And then resolve to be scrupulously honest in all your dealings. Ask God, by His Holy Spirit, to tap you on the shoulder if you slip into patterns of telling white lies. He is faithful. You can count on Him to do it.

from The 5-Minute Devotional Zondervan, copyright 1991 Jan Silvious