King Solomon wrote: ‘Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding.’ (Proverbs 8:6–9 NLT)
Usually, when we embellish the truth, it is to get these two things: the attention and the approval of the listener. But eventually, it backfires. Over time, people discover you are someone who stretches the truth, and you lose your credibility with them. And once you lose that, it takes a long time to get it back—if ever.
Sweeping statements like ‘Everybody does it,’ or ‘You never,’ or ‘You always’ cause people to discount you and eventually slot you as untrustworthy. It’s ok to say something with enthusiasm but avoid exaggeration. Stick to the facts and resist the urge to be the centre of attention by engaging in this form of lying. Joseph’s brothers resented the favour of God that was on his life. So, they threw him into a pit, dipped his coat in blood, then took it back home and showed it to their ageing father. They didn’t say a word. They simply let the old man conclude that his son had been devoured by a wild beast. And what’s more, they allowed him to live with that cruel lie for years.
Revelation 22:15 NASB says that everyone who ‘loves and practises lying’ is lumped together with ‘the sorcerers, the sexually immoral persons, the murderers, the idolaters.’ So, unless that’s the company you want to be identified with, tell the whole truth. Today make your prayer, ‘Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.’ (Psalm 120:2 NIV)