Are You Calling Me a Liar?
Posted by Josh Hilty
“Are you calling me a liar?” We’ve all heard it. Hopefully no one has said this to us recently.
Psychologist Robert Feldman writes, “We tend to think of lying as something we censure. But just as we smile when the man handing us our dry cleaning lies about the pleasure he took in laundering our clothes, there are lies society accepts, and even encourages. Indeed, deception is so deeply ingrained in the functioning of our society that if we removed it, we might not recognize the society that resulted.”
Dave Ramsey tells the story of how he went into a store to buy a washer and dryer for his wife, and the sales associate was trying to convince him to purchase them by using store credit. The man said, “Dave Ramsey uses store credit!” He obviously did not know who he was speaking to. Dave then flashed him his driver’s license and the associate learned a valuable lesson: Quit lying!
In Christian circles, we know that God tells us not to lie. It’s right in the Ten Commandments. Jesus tells us to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” Paul says we must speak the truth in love to one another.
If there was any place in the church where we should expect Christians to live up to this biblical standard, to me, it’s in a small group. Small groups are environments of honesty and trust. They are places where people meet together and develop friendships. And people are not looking for friends who will tell them what they want to hear. They need friends they can trust, friends who care more about their spiritual well-being than they do about upsetting them.
Feldman was right. If we eliminated lying—even the flattery, the passing over of white lies, and ignoring the half-truths we hear others say about themselves and God—in our small groups, we might not recognize them.
In John 8:44, Jesus tells the Jewish leaders, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (TNIV). Our words betray who our father is, whether we’d like to admit it or not. Since we have been adopted into God’s family, we choose to tell the truth.
What steps do you need to take to help your group become a place of trust?
How can you personally lead the way?
Do you need to have a personal conversation with someone in your group?
One concrete action step to take may be to consult Scripture this week, specifically Proverbs. Skim read Proverbs 10-30 looking for any verses that talk about our speech. Try to come up with the basic themes and messages of the book. Then apply these themes to your group setting and see how the trust levels go up.
For example, in Proverbs 10 alone we read (and I’ve skipped several other verses pertaining to wise speech):
- The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin (Pr. 10:8).
- Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin (Pr. 10:10).
- Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool (Pr. 10:18).
- Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongue (Pr. 10:19).
- From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced (Pr. 10:31).
May your group model honesty and transparency together!