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The Whole Truth
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There is a very good reason our courtrooms require those testifying to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Leaving out details is a lie. If I testify that an acquaintance was at my home from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Saturday evening of the night in question, for example, but fail to state that he also left in a hurry for 30 minutes around 8:00 p.m. after receiving a call on his cell phone, then I am not telling the whole truth.

The telling the “whole truth” principle isn’t just limited to the courtroom. Every day of our lives we are given countless opportunities to tell the whole truth-or not. It may be very “innocent” circumstances: Did you turn in your English essay? Yes (but it was only half done). Did you walk the dog? Of course (only to the mailbox and back).

There’s just no way a half-truth can add up to a “whole.” Our pastor has always reminded us that if we tell a half-truth, the other half must be a lie.

White Lie

We’ve all probably heard of a “white lie”-but can there really be such a thing? White represents purity, light, and truth. How then could it possibly be associated with a lie?

Any embellishment of the truth is also a lie. We often add these “extras” to justify our actions or to make ourselves look good. I may be late for curfew and tell my parents that there was an accident on the highway (there was), that I nearly missed hitting a deer (I did), and that it was raining (it was), but the truth is that none of these circumstances delayed my return. The simple fact is I left my friend’s home too late to make curfew. The extenuating circumstances I mentioned may have been “truth,” but they were added to save my own hide-thus, a lie and not “the whole truth and nothing but.”

When we lie, we lose our credibility; others will be hard-pressed to believe us even when we are telling the truth. We may face unwanted consequences, lose friends, be forced to reestablish trust with our parents (no easy task), or even get others in trouble. But worst of all, when we lie we hurt God. We go against the laws He has established for us for our own good.

Lies also negate our Christian witness. They misrepresent the Christ we claim to love and serve. A lying Christian is an oxymoron; the two just don’t go together.

The more we live a lie the more we open ourselves up to being deceived ourselves. You know the law of sowing and reaping: when we sow in lies, we can be sure we will harvest not only the consequences of those lies but also the susceptibility of being more easily deceived by others.

Ever notice how easy it is to break the Ten Commandments? Because it’s so easy to lie, God commanded us not to do it. When we are commanded to do or not do something, it requires a bit of effort and determination on our part. While we may not always succeed, we must firmly resolve that we want to obey this command. Only then do we have a hope of being set free from lies that can hold us in bondage.

Lies affect everyone directly or indirectly, but mostly they damage our relationship with God. But when we know the Truth, we will seek to live in truth.

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By Tammy Darling. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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