6 Reasons We Lie

There are some jokes that you know a preacher is going to tell. Like whenever he goes through a list like the ten commandments. Almost as if it’s a duty forced upon him he’ll tell the joke, “All of you that didn’t raise your hand and confess to lying—just told a lie.” The congregation dutifully chuckles as if they’ve heard the joke for the first time.

But are they lying with their fake laughter? I’m asking this just to point out that we can get distracted about lying and try to justify our lies as if a good portion of them are actually for the sake of others and advancement of the kingdom.

Poppycock.

Here are six reasons why I usually lie. And you do too. If you try to tell me different, I’ll call you a liar:

  1. To impress people—whatever I like about myself and whatever I think I need to exaggerate about myself to cause you to like me and have a positive view of me. Whether I lie about how much I can bench press, my skills at computer programming, my knowledge of an iPhone, the number of people I’ve dated, the grade I got on a test score, the funny thing I said (but really only said in my head). I lie because I want to impress you.
  2. To escape consequences—probably the most frequent reason we lie is to save our tails. It’s obvious in small children, but only because they aren’t as good as us at hiding it. If we think we are going to get in trouble for something we will craft really big stories to get out of it. Adlai Stevenson is correct, “Lying is an abomination to the Lord and a very present help in times of trouble”.
  3. To keep peace—this is very often the reason for our silence. This is the same reason why I am sometimes silent in sharing the gospel—I want to keep peace. It’s also sometimes why I tell a lie rather than a truth when somebody asks me a very serious question. I lie and tell them what they want to hear rather than the truth.
  4. Malicious slander—when I am sinned against I can be tempted to slander. I can be responsible for telling a lie or spreading a lie about someone that I do not like. I do this because for revenge sometimes, but sometimes I do it to make myself look better, to build a falsely close relationship with someone else, or just because it seems fun.
  5. Denial—if lies continue to go unchecked eventually they spiral down into a calloused denial. It gets so bad that I really do not even know that I am lying. I even believe my own lie. I think it’s truth but it’s not. So, I live in flat out denial.
  6. Callous habits—eventually I develop the habit of lying rather than the habit of telling the truth. It’s usually not those big lies but those little white lies. Those lies that are just cutting the corner and only leaving out a few details.  We get into patterns of surface relationships, surface conversations, and before we know it a good portion of our world is revolving around a lie.

At root in our lying hearts is idolatry. Lying is an attempt to change reality. How much more idolatrous can you can get than to stare reality in the face and attempt to reconstruct a reality of our own making?

I also believe that John Piper is correct when he says,

“…when Paul says that the old nature is corrupt, he means (among other things) that the old nature is a liar. And this means, then, that the corruption of lying comes from the desires of deceit. Very simply this means that the reason we lie is because we have desires that we shouldn’t have, and the reason we have them is because we are deceived about what is truly desirable.”

In other words the way to fight lying is to be satisfied in reality as God has created it. If we truly find Him and His ways desirable then we won’t be so tempted to construct false reality of our own.

Practical Theology: Using Non-Christians for Kingdom Work

A few years ago, I took some classes at Southwestern Seminary’s Houston campus.  If you get the chance, take a course there.  They’ve got a great bunch of guys.  One gentleman, Dr. John Laing, is an absolutely fantastic instructor and a solid all-around human being; not a waste of a carbon footprint at all.

In one his courses, Dr. Laing briefly threw out an intriguing concept: there are non-Christian biblical Greek scholars out there!  These are folks who choose to major in a specific language (Greek) during a precise point in history (first-century AD) as used in a specific area (greater Palestine).  As Dr. Laing expressed it, these are scholars of the highest level researching and studying the same language in which most New Testament books were originally written.  And boy – they’re good, apparently.

The reason this was such a fascinating concept was that some Christian Greek scholars were locked into a debate over the appropriateness of using a non-Christian Greek scholar.  Proponents argued that koine Greek is koine Greek, regardless of who is doing the translating from Greek to another language.  Opponents counter with the fact that sometimes the Word is not exactly clear, and only through the illumination of the Holy Spirit can a translator capture the original meaning and intent.

The underlying concept in this debate has suddenly become relevant for Stacy and I.  We work in Ecuador among Deaf Ecuadorians, a largely unreached people group.  They are what ethnologists call oral learners; this simply means they prefer non-literate ways of learning.  If you want to know more about oral learning and oral teaching strategies, see here and here.  This bent towards non-printed forms of learning means our Spanish language Bibles are fairly useless.  It means that in order to express the Bible to the Deaf, we must translate, essentially, the printed English or Spanish word into local sign language.  No, I do not read but a little Greek, so we’re not using anything that approaches the original format or language.

In our search for a local Deaf adult to help us translate the printed word into sign, we’ve encountered a problem: no one has time.  The Deaf Christians work hard and are always reliable.  Their families know it.  The community knows it.  They are absolutely never, ever available.  Ecuadorians as a general rule are very, very hard workers, proudly laboring long hours.  The only person we can find to help us translate the stories and produce them onto a DVD for general distribution is a seeker, not a Christian.  Our candidate possesses all the necessary skills: literate enough to access the written word, beautifully expressive linguistically, highly intelligent, able to understand translation/language issues, and would love to see the scriptures put into Ecuadorian sign language.  She’s just not a Christian.

So what do we do?  The Greek translation debate centered on the translation of the original language, koine Greek, into a target language.  Since the Holy Spirit did the original inspiring, I can understand the reluctance of Christian Greek scholars to use non-Christians who lack access to the Spirit.  However, we’re not using the original language of inspiration here.  We’re going from two different Spanish translations into a language that has no printed format – Ecuadorian Sign Language.

What would you do?  Use a non-Christian?  Or just wait patiently until the right Christian is available, knowing how long it might take?  I could do it myself, but I’m not a native user of the target language.  I could simply tell the signer what to say, but that renders their linguistic skills irrelevant.

Well?

Please, no suggestions on how to convince the Christians they really do have time.  No ideas on producing a written form of sign language.  Let’s see if we can shed light on this one, tiny subject.  If it helps, pretend that the target language in question is spoken Navajo or Klingon.  

Why You Should Cheer for the Denver Broncos

I am leading my church to pursue discipline against anyone who supports the Seattle SeaTalks and will probably place anyone who cheers for them on moderation here. We need to stand for right, folks. America cannot survive if we do not speak out for what is honorable. I’d like to share my reasons for this principled and convictional stand.

1) Peyton Manning is a great American story. Rising up from poverty (well, his dad’s teams seldom won games anyway), he started ingloriously – in an act of shame, he signed with an SEC school where he couldn’t beat the Gators or win a Heisman (lost to a Big 10 player). He was promoted into Big 10 country where he became the greatest quarterback in NFL history (despite his SEC roots). He was mistreated by the owner of the Indianapolis Dolts and was written off by many. He rose up to the heights of Denver (any joke about being high is inappropriate at this point) where he has excelled.

2) Baptists drool over Duck Dynasty. The Seattle Mouth (Richard Sherman) described Peyton’s passes as “ducks.” Peyton is the true Duck Commander. Quack quack.

3) If you are a Driscoll-hater, remember that Seattle is where his church is located. You don’t want Pastor Mark smiling, do you?

4) If you are a Driscoll-lover, think of the opportunities for ministry he will have when sadness grips the city.

5) Maybe Richard Sherman is not the complete idiot we thought he was during his post-game rant a couple of weeks ago, but the chance to learn humility by losing would do him some good. Can you imagine his annoying chirping if they win? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

6) Peyton Manning was largely responsible for the slaying of Comrade Belichick and the New England Communists. He deserves your support for that act if for no other reason.

7) The coach of the Seattle Seatalks is Pete Carroll, whose “integrity” drove USC into the depths of scandal and led to the Lane Kiffin fiasco. Any coach who leads his team to scandal, then to a Lane Kiffin moment, then runs off to the NFL does not deserve our support.

8) John Fox had heart troubles this season. Losing could kill him, folks. Look at him. Does that look like a healthy man to you? Do you want his demise on your conscience? We just can’t take that chance.

9) I live near Omaha, and Peyton love Omaha. Listen, we don’t get much attention in this frozen part of the country (it was -6 this AM and they were warning that a cold front was going to come through in a day or two). Peyton has shined a spotlight on “Omaha, Omaha. Hurry, Hurry,” and cheer for the Broncos.

10) Because I said so. This is my house and if you are going to live in my house, you will live by my rules. Do not talk back to me. Go to your room, you are grounded.

Program # 3290 Truman Thompson Classic

3290 Truman Thompson Classic:(Alcoholism) Truman's own dad gives him his first drink. And from it, Truman learns he can overcome his extreme shyness and constant feelings of inferiority. As a teenager, he becomes a drunkard and begins a journey into the desperate world of alcoholics. He joins the Navy, but is kicked out after two years. He moves from city to city and job to job. He finally ends up in a hobo jungle behind a mission in Akron, which he avoids. On a stormy night, in sole less shoes, he seeks refuge in the one place he's tried to avoid. There he hears the stories of other men who landed at the bottom of life. Truman finally sees his need of the Savior and trusts Christ to save him. He marries, and after Bible College goes into ministry with rescue missions.