April 28, 2011

Break the Chains of Lies

Article first published as Break the Chain of Lies on Blogcritics.


“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.”
Ephesians 4:25
“He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
         He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me”.
Psalm 101:7

Because my life has involved the court system over the past year, I have found myself researching and trying to understand more about how our system works.  One of the fasicnating things I have found interesting in the process is that of perjury.  In a court of law, those that lie under oath are committing a crime and can be charged a fine or put into prison.  Judges do not look favorably upon those that lie in court and can even throw out their testimony. 

Lying is a sin.  Many verses address Gods feeling toward those that lie and lying itself. Proverbs (6:16-17) says that God HATES a lying tongue and He hates those who tell lies (Prov 12:22) as well as destroys those that lie (Psalm 5:6).  Those are harsh statements but true.  True because God cannot lie and cannot be in the presence of those who choose to lie. 

So why is God so tough on those that lie?  Why such harsh statements?  Because lying is contrary to God’s character. It is not that God chooses not to lie or that He will not lie but instead that He CANNOT lie. God IS TRUTH.  Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began”.  God always speaks truth! When He makes a promise to us, we can be assured that He will follow through with His promises to us.  Even when we fall short and fail Him, God is still there.  He is faithful to His promises and will not forsake us. 

“if we are faithless, 
   he remains faithful, 
   for he cannot disown himself.”
2 Timothy 2:13

When we lie, it is never “of God” but instead comes from the “father of lies”, Satan.  His mission is to steal, kill and destroy and that is exactly what he accomplishes when we fall into the sin of lying. We lie for various reasons.  We tell little white lies because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We lie to keep ourselves out of trouble.  We lie to make ourselves appear better to others.  No matter what the reason or the kind of lie, God considers it all a sin.

When we don’t tell the truth, there are consequences to face.  In the story of Ananias and Sapphira, they sold a piece of property and only gave half of their money to the church.  They lied to the Apostles saying that they only sold the land for the amount that they gave.  God struck them down dead.  There sin was not that they kept the money but instead that they did not tell the truth.  

Proverbs tells us that God destroys those that lie.  In the case of Ananias and Sapphira that meant literal death. For us I think it may mean other things.  I was reading a book today that suggested some things we might lose to death because of our lying.  Things such as our marriages (“falsehoods are termites in the trunk of the family tree”), our conscience (the tragedy of the second lie is that it is always easier to tell than the first), a career, faith (those who are fluent in the language of false-hood find terms like confession and repentance hard to pronounce).  We could also lose things like intimacy, trust and peace.  

When we lie, we lose the most important thing of all: our witness.  Just as the court will not hear the testimony of a perjured witness, the world will not listen to the testimony of a lying proclaimed Christ-follower.  

One of my favorite verses is found in Matthew.  It says, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”(25:21) I have seen this verse lived out so much over the past year.  I have experienced God’s faithfulness.  He gives us so much more when we choose to follow Him and live according to His ways and not our own.  

So many are bound and buried by their lies.  When we are facing a problem, we are left at a fork in the road wondering which path to take.  Should we tell the truth and face the music or continue down the path of lies?  The question to ask in those moments is whether or not God will bless your deceit.  Would God, One who hates lies, bless a strategy that has been built on lies?  Will God honor the manipulator?  Will God rescue the cheater?  Will God bless our dishonesty?

We must choose to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or we will be bound by chains and buried forever. Once we make the choice and examine our hearts, the truth will set us free. 

April 26, 2011

Righteous Anger

Article first published as Righteous Anger on Blogcritics.



“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”
Romans 1:18-19

I knew a pastor once who disrespected his elders, yelled in their faces, pointed his finger in their faces and called them liars. After his outburst, he then likened himself to Jesus, calling it righteous anger.  My first reaction to his comparison was that of laughter.  I found it humorous that someone would behave in that manner and then make the claim that they were being like Christ.  How sad that we can convince ourselves that our un-Christ-like behavior is justified. But not only that, we claim it as righteous.

What is righteous anger?  Does God get angry?  Scripture says, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness”.  God hates evil.  God gets angry at evil.  I have learned that real love always becomes angry at evil.  Our finite minds, find it hard to understand this concept because we cannot grasp that there is a difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of man.  

Human anger is self-driven.  If we feel that we have become overlooked or cheated, we are prone to violent actions or an explosive temper tantrum much like this pastor. Our anger is driven by emotion and expressed in ungodly ways when we do not get our way.  It occurs when we dismiss God.  We choose to go our own way and find that the outcome becomes that of losing our purpose and our standard.  

God does not become angry because He does not get His way.  That is not the case at all.  Instead, His anger is caused by our lack of obedience.  When we disobey God the result is that of self-destruction. God hates evil.  God hates divorce.  God hates pride.  God hates liars.  God hates gossips.  God hates murderers.  God hates thieves.  God hates adulterers.  The list goes on because He hates anything that causes harm and pain to His children.  He hates these things because they cause us to turn away from Him.  God hates these things because they are sin.

God is holy and because He is holy, our sins are an outrage to His holiness. He cannot look at that which is evil and He cannot stomach those who do wrong. (That would be ALL of us) God is angry at the evil that harms His children.

God’s anger is directed toward those things or people that destroy His children.  He doesn’t lose His temper and punch a hole in a wall at evil but instead He loves us that much that He hates what we become when we turn away from Him. We can call it a divine hatred for those things that cause harm to His children.

April 23, 2011

The Dark of Legalism

Article first published as The Dark of Legalism on Blogcritics.

 2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
 3Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John 3:2-3

  Throughout my journey, I have discovered the Pharisees of my time.  I guess I always thought that the Pharisees were only men that existed back in the time of the Bible but I am learning that they walk the earth even today.

Pharisees are those that know all about rules and regulations. They believe that faith is a job.  They believe that how you act and what you wear are sure signs of your spiritual maturity. They focus on technique.

In the dark of night, a particular Pharisee approaches Jesus by the name of Nicodemus because he cannot be seen with Jesus. Nicodemus is curious about the ways of this simple carpenter.  He recognizes something within Jesus, a passion that he once knew but has lost.  I found that Nicodemus goes to Jesus in the dark of night fitting because I am learning that legalism, the way of the Pharisees, offers no true light. 

There are those that believe that grace is a job. It is about works and it has to be earned.  Jesus tells us that grace is a gift from the Father.  You believe one of two things about salvation; that it is based on the work you perform meaning our salvation becomes our responsibility or you accept it as a gift from God.  Do you know what that means if you believe that salvation comes from works?   It is saying that Christ was beaten and crucified for nothing.  That He was tortured and cursed for no reason.  It is such dark thinking but legalism is a dark world.

Those Pharisees of today know how to talk a good talk and walk a great walk.  From the outside, they sparkle and shine but something on the inside is missing.  They lack the joy of the Lord because they live in fear.  It is the fear that they will never be able to do enough and will continue to makes mistakes.

Legalism can be compared to that of a slow torture.  If you have never known the strike of legalism, be incredibly thankful that you have been spared.  Legalism will crush your dreams and smother your spirit.  It is just enough religion to keep you hungry but lacks real nourishment leaving you to starve.  You don’t starve alone though.  Your pastors do not know where to find the food that you crave either and so together, you all starve.  Your diet consists of rules that are bland and lack the vitamins needed to survive.  You are then left feeling that if we want to be a part of “this fellowship”, you had better follow their rules. 

That is the darkness of legalism.  It is rigid and lonely.  It doesn’t need God.  There is no room for forgiveness.  It is a search for only those that are innocent.  You are constantly left defending and explaining yourself.  Legalists are fixated on themselves and not God. 

I found this description of Legalism:
It makes my opinion, your burden.  There is only room for one opinion, which makes me wrong.
My opinion opposes yours, which makes you question not only my right to have fellowship with you, but you question my salvation as well.
That Christians must toe the company line.  We are not to think but instead to follow.

Legalism places the fear of man within us and we become people pleasers.  I became a people pleaser.  Always worried what others were thinking.  Trying to follow all of the rules in order to be accepted.  Scared to death to speak my mind or share my opinion for fear of rejection.  Though I was uncomfortable, I stayed because it felt safe.  Though things did not always feel right, I knew better than to question those in leadership and chose to stay in step and march down the path of least resistance until God changed me.

To be honest, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.  I shared my heart, which questioned a leader and whether his actions were Christ-like and was told that I no longer had the right to fellowship within the walls of the church.  My salvation was questioned as well.  That is legalism but I did not recognize it at first.  I truly believed what they were saying about me. In addition, it wasn’t just the leaders saying these things. There were friends and family that made me feel the same way. 

Slowly God has been peeling away the film that has covered my eyes for so many years.  I began to see people, (friends, family, church people) in a completely new light.  Those who judge, condemn and have critical spirits are not spiritual.  They are legalistic.  Jesus reveals to us “our human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit.” (John 3:6) Our parents, our families, pass down our beliefs and traditions but it is up to us to choose what we will believe. Our spiritual life is not an endeavor we work for or an inheritance but instead it is rooted in the Holy Spirit.  Our achievements are created by God.  

Spirituality does not come because we attend church three times a week or do good deeds for others.  Salvation is Gods to give.  Grace was His idea and His sacrifice (His Son). He offers it to those that He chooses and when He chooses.   Our job then becomes to share with others.  NOT to screen people.

“The wind blows where it wants to and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going.  It is the same with every person who is born from the Spirit.” (John 3:8)  The wind does not seek after our help in doing its work.  It is silent and invisible just like the Holy Spirit. Religious leaders like to control and manage.  Structure is a friend to the pastor but that doesn’t mean that it is always the practice of God. 

Grace is God’s gift and legalistic thinking removes His gift.  God gives us salvation out of love.  He loves us so much that He gave up His One and Only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not be lost but have eternal life.  (John 3:16) There is no system, no rules or ritual.  It is about a relationship with the creator of the universe.  It is about a generous God who offers eternal life, not by what we achieve, succeed in or agree with but instead, by what we believe. 

April 21, 2011

Deep Wounds

“If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
         If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 
    13If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
2 Timothy 2:12-13

Sometimes it is best for those who have never experienced some forms of pain not to offer counsel to others.  Intentions are good and I am sure we all mean well, but those who have not personally dealt with divorce, the betrayal of a spouse, pastor, friends, cannot offer effective counseling for those who have. 

Those who have experienced and made it through the deep wounds of suffering have all learned the same lesson (hopefully):  God allows suffering into our lives so that we may look to Him for our comfort and our strength.  Once we learn this lesson, we are able to meet others who are experiencing the same difficulties and walk that journey with them.  Because we have experienced the pain, we are able to offer others who suffer our genuine support and encouragement. 

Bringing encouragement to someone can be much more helpful than any type of head knowledge.  It is not that we should offer a false sense of hope that all will be well but instead to assure those hurting that God is real and He does keep His promises. 

 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace )In the world you have tribulation, but take courage;  I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)  Our words to others become vital as they serve as a reminder to trust in the promises of God.

When someone is hurting, sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes a simple hug expresses more than mere words. It may mean that the tender touch when holding hands could be all that someone needs.  Those who have dealt with the same types of suffering or pain know how to respond to others experiencing the same struggles. 

When one is hurting, loneliness can be overwhelming.  The darkness that follows can eat away at our soul if we choose to take our focus off God and place it on ourselves. Much like when Peter walked on the water.  At first, his eyes were focused on Christ but then he became aware of the storm that surrounded him.  Fear crept in as he realized he was alone. He then took his eyes off Christ and sank.

God’s promises are what we can rely on during our suffering.  God always gives us hope.  He is always with us and because He is always with us, we have hope.  Life is a journey and can bring great discouragement into our life but we should not give up.  God has great plans for us.  His eye is on us and He is waiting with open arms at the finish line for us.  We have to press on past the pain and obstacles by claiming Him faithful the entire way.  He has so much good planned for us when we follow His ways and remain focused on Him.

April 18, 2011

Dark of Suffering

Article first published as The Dark of Suffering on Blogcritics.

“You have taken account of my wanderings;
         Put my tears in Your bottle 
         Are they not in Your book?”
Psalm 56:8

“Deep in the dark of the suffering soul comes a moment when nothing intellectual or psychological matters.”
Bill Bright. Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ



Pain is a process.  Anyone who has ever experienced some form of loss knows that the pain involved can be unbearable.  Life can turn into a dangerous roller coaster ride.  The ups and downs, loops and hills, can take you on a crazy ride. 

I have spent months reading.  Books on how to cope with loss, how to deal with depression, how to deal with divorce, how to deal with betrayal, how to trust and so on and so on and so on.  It has been never ending but I never found exactly what I was looking for.  Truth be told, I would always come back to the same book for my ultimate comfort.  My bible became my best friend.  It brought me peace in uncertain times and comfort through the tears.  

I realized as I read that God is aware of every hurt that I experience.  Whether it is of my own doing or caused by others, He keeps a record of every tear that I cry and hurt that my heart experiences.  However, when walking down the path filled with darkness, those things can easily be forgotten and hopelessness experienced. 

As I was reading one day, I found this acrostic written by Dr. David Zimmerman who leads grief seminars.

          Realize the Loss vs. Denying It
                    Goal: To be able to say by faith: “It happened.” Past tense.  No “do over.”
          Experience the Pain vs. Protesting It
                    Goal: To be able to admit by faith: “I hurt.”
          Let Time Help vs. Despairing
                    Goal: To be able to say by faith: “I need time.”
          Increase fellowship, Social Contact vs. Disconnecting in Isolation
                    Goal: To be able to say by faith: “I need help.”
          Evaluate Loss vs. Lingering in Depression
                    Goal: To be able to say by faith: “I will work” at learning from this.
          Face the Future with Hope vs. Merely Resigning to Loss
                    Goal: To be able to say by faith: “I will grow through this,” not merely saying, “I will go through this.”

As I read each of these, I began to realize that I had to learn to take one day at a time.  When dealing with pain, oftentimes people do not even know that you are hurting.  For me, I kept it hidden for many years.  I wore a smile and made excuses.  I kept my secret hidden.  

People on the outside cannot see what is happening on the inside.  They cannot see past the façade.  They are not God.  I had to learn, by faith, slowly to engage others in my situation.  When trust has been violated, this becomes very difficult. I went into every conversation with my guard up and my heart covered in armor.  I was not going to let anyone in or allow them too close.  Let me say from personal experience, this is NOT helpful.

In my defense, I had every right to my lack of trust but because I had the right, did not mean isolation was the correct solution.  For me in only sent me into a darker place and I became even lonelier.  It could have turned out ugly but instead, God used it for my good. 

When you are dealing with pain, the world appears blurry and life becomes unclear.  It leads me to a place where I began to examine everything in my life.  I began to search for the things that were unhealthy or harmful.  The results that I discovered were unnerving and difficult to accept. God wanted to clean house.  He needed to clean house.  I was afraid. 

As I was reading my bible one day, I reached the story in Matthew when Jesus was talking to his disciples about the upcoming events and His impending death.  While talking to the disciples, Peter begins to rebuke Jesus, telling Him “this shall never happen.”   The response of Jesus was, "Get behind Me,  Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." (Matthew 16:23)  I paused.  I reread.  I read again.  I experienced an AHA moment. 

Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Get behind me Satan!”.  Peter was not Satan but his words amounted to a spiritual/satanic attack on God’s will for Jesus.  Peter’s statement to Jesus was critical in spirit.  I sat back and meditated over those words for a moment.  Just because someone walks with the Lord does not mean that every word that escapes his or her mouth is of the Lord.  What a revelation!  How many times had I questioned myself about what I felt God was putting on my heart because a “pastor” said it?  WAY TOO MANY.  I am not alone.  I discovered there are many who doubt God because someone “of the faith” has told them differently.   

Satan can and WILL use fellow believers to discourage us.  Every believer is guilty of sin.  Every believer is capable of speaking from a prideful place that is not of God. WOW.  Read that paragraph again.  Take it in.  Ponder it.  People are not God.  Not every word that escapes from the mouth of someone is necessarily a “word from God”.  

Once I accepted this as truth, the healing process began.  I realized that in order to deal with the pain, I needed to avoid any source that brings discouragement, condemnation or accusation in order to heal.  I had to choose to hold fast to Truth and stand firm choosing not to fight.  Instead, I had to avoid the discouragers and allow God ultimately to be my defender. 
 


April 13, 2011

Shaken

"You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God."
James 4:2

My faith was shaken.  I began to waiver on what I believed.  My idea of right and wrong became twisted.  The world seemed out of whack.


Where did my faith go?  Did I lose it?  What is completely gone?  Maybe.  On the other hand, maybe it was hidden beneath the doubt and the pain. It was time to find it again.
Praise God that the Holy Spirit lives within us and stirs our soul when we seem to have lost our way.  It is how I know that I belong to God.  I can feel the Spirit when He tugs at my heart. 

God’s word says, “a bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not quench.”  (Isaiah 42:3) What a special promise.  Though I may have been bruised by life, He will not allow me totally to break away from Him.  Though my light may be dim, He will not completely put me out.  All He needs from me is to have faith as small as a mustard seed, and He can begin to increase my faith. 
 
Increasing faith begins with time spend with God.  In order to have meaningful time with God, I have to spend time in His word.  Romans 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing. My faith with dwindle away if I choose to shy away from His word.

I have found that my faith is strongest through trials when my focus is on Him and I am spending time with Him.  When my mind is focused on Him and His truth, it is easier to remember His promises and His faithfulness in my life.  It really is that simple.  He works in my life, which changes my mind set, and my faith increases.  

It is so much easier to walk through life when you are able to recognize just how big God really is. 

April 10, 2011

When Trust is Violated

Article first published as Spiritual Abuse: When Trust is Violated on Blogcritics.



Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
 2shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
 3nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:1-5

What happens when the leaders of our churches choose to abuse their authority?  When we are part of a body of believers, we are taught to submit to authority regardless of whether they are right or wrong.  My question has become whether or not that is this biblical?  In order to answer my question I had to do some serious exploring and soul searching.
Spiritual abuse is easily explained as power with little or no restraint.  It  is a result of pride.  Those in authority often fail to recognize they are not the mouthpiece of God and can be wrong.  They tend to forget the true reasons why they have been given authority and the purpose that it serves. Instead it is often used it to control or manipulate those that follow and trust them for guidance.
The most dangerous are those that abuse their authority through a subtle form of pride.  This form of pride comes disguised as humility but the second this person is challenged or questioned, the monster within appears.  This particular form of abuse uses guilt to demand obedience and threatens those not willing to comply with dis-fellowship.  These actions are often in an attempt to protect a certain “image” of a leader or the church itself.  
Many pastors or leaders believe that their authority comes directly from God and nowhere else.  These people then elevate themselves to the same level of God leaving them with no accountability and the power to micromanage their followers.  None of those actions follow the example of Jesus thus making this belief wrong and sinful. 
Here is a typical scenario:  A follower either questions the authority of their leader or raises something unpleasant that this leader has done leaving the leader offended and his ego bruised.  The leader will then address the issue, making the follower feel as if the issue is not real or it is misguided.  The follower is then questioned about possible sin in their life.  Surely, there has to be sin if the follower would question the leader who is in authority under God. From there, church discipline may be evoked and the person turned out.  Other followers in the church are told that the person is running away from God and in sin.  Scary isn’t it?  What is even scarier is that it is happening every day and it happened to me.
The effects of this type of abuse are horrific to the one experiencing spiritual abuse.  We put great trust in our leadership and expect that our trust will be guarded but when that trust is violated, it is devastating. And the loss of trust effects all areas; home life, friendships, church life and yes, trust in God.  Those around you begin to believe the lies being spoken by the leadership.  They believe you are “in sin” and are running away from God.  Even worse are those that tell others to stay away from you so as not to be pulled into “your whirlpool of sin”.  Sad but it is all true.  This then leaves the effected party abandoned, alone and betrayed.  For me, it led me into deep depression.  I no longer trusted anyone.  I withdrew into myself.  I no longer trusted God. 
There is no greater darkness than depression.  It is a complete feeling of utter hopelessness and that of being totally alone.  Here is where I found hope.  This behavior of spiritual abuse, angers God. 
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
 8"As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock;
 9therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
 10'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make themcease from feeding sheep So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'"
Ezekiel 34:8-10
God condemns the “shepherds of Israel” who ruled over their flock with force and cruelty.  Jesus was angry with those who found rules more important than the concern for those suffering around them.  

He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered.
 2They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
 3He said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!"
 4And He said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent.
 5After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Mark 3:1-5
One of my personal favorites is when Jesus heals the blind man using mud.  (John 9)  The Pharisees chose to “cast out” the man who was blind because he spoke truth and exposed their hypocrisy.   You see Jesus never used His spiritual authority in order to gain more power.  He did not use His power to control those around Him who would disagree or question. 

Jesus followed the high standards of His Father but always placed the needs and sufferings of the people before rules.  He did this because scripture was clear that people would always have sin in their lives.  If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
It becomes clear to me that there are those leaders out there that are spiritually abusive and have an unbalanced idea of what matters most to God. 
There is so much more to this topic and much more to be explored over time.  Be certain that the abuse of power does not exist in every church.  Every pastor is not consumed with the desire to control but it does happen. The point for now is to remember that NO man is the sole mouthpiece of God and NO individual has all the authority directly from God to direct and decide all affairs of the church.  God’s desire is that our acts of authority be a reflection of His grace and not rules.   When this does not happen, God is robbed of His glory and distorted before the world.  
It has taken me a very long time to reach a place of understanding and peace on the topic of church leadership abusing their power.  It has taken even longer to be able to speak about it and share.  I have felt so strongly for so long the need to address this issue so that others experiencing this issue would have hope. My prayer is that if you are here because you are searching for hope in an abusive situation to know that you are not alone.  Know that God loves you more than you could ever fathom and He did not approve of what took place.  God is a just God and will right the wrong committed. For now, find rest, peace, love in His arms, and be confident that if your life belongs to Him, He will protect His child.

April 4, 2011

God is Truth

 'There are six things the LORD hates,
   seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes,
      a lying tongue,
      hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
      feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    19 a false witness who pours out lies
      and a person who stirs up conflict in the community."

  
Proverbs 6:16-20





"Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
   but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.


 18 Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips
   and spreads slander is a fool.
 19 Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
   but the prudent hold their tongues. "

Proverbs 10:17-19

"The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
   but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
 19 Truthful lips endure forever,
   but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
 20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
   but those who promote peace have joy. "

Proverbs 12:18-20

"The LORD detests lying lips,
   but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

 23 The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
   but a fool’s heart blurts out folly."

Proverbs 12:22-23

"Wealth attracts many friends,
   but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.
 5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
   and whoever pours out lies will not go free."
Proverbs 19:4-6

There are certain things that we as Christ Followers forget that are considered a sin in the eyes of God.  We are quick to point out the sins of others but neglect our own.  Why is that? Maybe because we are sinful? Prideful?  We are all sinners.  We all are found guilty.

God has pressed upon me many times over the past year, the sin of lying.  It is rampant within our churches and social circles.  It destroys relationships and families.  I was having my quiet time this morning and this was one of my devotions that I read. I am always overwhelmed by the amount of scripture that addresses the sin of lying.  The consequences of those who not only lie but use their lies to harm another person are not very promising at all.  I think we could all use a reminder on what God's word says about dishonesty.



Ed Young Television Weekly Devotional

Throttle Back

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13

It seems like lying has become a national pastime. We lie about everything from our age to our résumé to our mother-in-law’s cooking. But God flat-out hates lying. He hates it because he is a truthful God, a transparent God. He is truth. And when we lie to each other, we are acting contrary to his character. In fact, when we lie, we are reflecting the personality of the evil one.

God will never prompt you to lie. The Holy Spirit will always lead you to the truth, but you have to be willing to follow. The choice is yours to make.

I challenge you in the coming days, when you are about to exaggerate or “stretch the truth” in a conversation, throttle back and take your cue from the Holy Spirit. Listen to what God is telling you and walk the path that glorifies him. Choose the truth, because life is too short to lie.