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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Broken Words and Broken Hearts

Resisting Lies and Restoring Faith 

Proverbs 6:16-17

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,  


Proverbs 12:22

22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal truthfully are His delight.


As a kid growing up on a farm in the American south, there were a few things from which I was inseparable: a pocket knife, a good dirt bike, an adventurous dog, and a BB gun. The knife was good for slicing stolen apples or hunks of cheese from the pantry. The bike was good to get you far enough away from the house so that pesky adults could not draft you for chores (a seen kid was a kid in need of “character building”). The dog was always good for a day in the fields or woods. And the BB gun…well, it was not good for much of anything–except for being up to no good. 

My cousins, brother, and I received our first BB guns at six years old, and then were turned loose upon the countryside. We grew up shooting at paper targets, green plastic army men, Coca-Cola and Fanta soda cans–and occasionally pestering the wildlife. 

Three or four of us would often wander the farm on quiet weekends looking for targets of opportunity. We called this highly irresponsible behavior “plinking,” and it was a mess of fun. A Coke can on a fence post: *plink*. A pie pan tied to a stake in the garden to keep crows away: *plink*. A handful of spiky, dry Sweetgum balls tossed into the creek: *plink*, *plink*, *plink*. This was enough trouble to keep us out of real trouble until dinnertime.

One afternoon, I found myself all alone with nothing to do and no one to share it with. It was time to seize the day–plus my BB gun–and head to the fields with plinking on my mind. As I made my way past the barn and through gates to the pasture, I spotted a watering trough. It was one of several large, plastic barrels that my grandpap had sawn in half to use for cows and horses. This one sat in a fence corner and was filled to the top. 

On a whim, I took a shot at it with my BB gun. I do not know what I expected to happen, really, but thanks to physics (a subject I had yet to take in school), a neat, BB-sized hole appeared about halfway up the side of the barrel. From it, a thin, powerful stream of water shot out in a graceful arc. It was like something from a cartoon. 

Wait, what? What was I doing? What in the world was I thinking? My brain went into panic mode: “I just shot a hole in pap’s water trough!” Frantically, I looked about for a quick fix. I located a small stick, jammed it into the hole, and broke it off. The water stopped flowing. 

I was a good kid, a responsible kid–and a kid who knew the bite of a leather belt. At this point, I could have done the right thing (better late than never) and gone to my grandpap, confessed my idiocy, and accepted whatever punishment I had coming. But no, instead, I wandered off, hoping my crime would never be discovered.

Well, it was discovered. That very evening, when grandpap returned from his daily patrol of the farm, he came into the house and asked about his water trough: “Looks like someone shot it with a BB gun.” He looked at me, and I just shook my head. 

Now, pap was not dumb. He had had a rough life, had fought on bloody Pacific islands during the war, and had been a firefighter during a time when “safety gear” meant holding your breath long enough to maybe get yourself and a victim out of a burning house. He also knew a liar when he saw one.

And he was looking at me. 

At that moment, I realized that I had done far worse than shooting a barrel of water. I had broken my grandpap’s trust. He had a “boys will be boys” attitude toward the wild children whom his four daughters had given him–he had even bought me the BB gun–but a boy who lied to him broke his heart. 

In time I made a heartfelt apology and made up for it many times over. He would die of cancer a few years later, having come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior, as his autumn days turned to winter. I know he forgot the lie about the water trough, but I never did. 

What is it about lying that will break someone’s heart? It is because lying not only cuts to the very heart of both the liar and the person being lied to, it is the most ancient of all sins. Solomon spends a great deal of time in Proverbs warning the children of Israel about lying, for he knows the pain and destruction even a single lie can cause. An eternal destruction that begins in the heart, before the lie is even uttered, and echoes through all eternity.

Proverbs chapter 6 reveals lying to be one of the “deadly sins” that God hates:

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,–Proverbs 6:16-17

Lying is such an abomination to God that it actually appears not once, but twice in this list that continues in verses 18-19:

18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,

19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.–Proverbs 6:18-19

God hates “a lying tongue” and “a false witness.” These two things are synonymous, and yet represent different roles that lying can take in life. You can lie to make yourself look good, to save your skin–or to purposely and knowingly injure another. 

Solomon comes back again and again to impress upon his young pupils the necessity of living a life that is free of lies. Lying will not only destroy their own reputation and personal relationships, God will cast them away from Himself. You see this again in Proverbs 22:

22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal truthfully are His delight.–Proverbs 12:22

In this poetic couplet you see, what commentator Bruce Waltke describes as, “The Lord standing in the shadows keeping watch above His own to effect these contrasting fates.” God takes an active role in both punishing liars and rewarding those who “deal truthfully” in this life. 

When something is described as an “abomination,” it takes on a special brand of hatred. It is a word reserved for things that are repulsive, disgusting and loathsome. God “casts away” things that are an abomination to Him. Lies and those who lie, cannot be in His presence.

Why does God hate lying? Lying is one of the first sins of the garden. The pride of Adam and Eve was first pricked by the lies of the Devil, when he asked them, “Hath not God said…?”

The first reason that God hates lying: it goes against His very nature. God is light (I John 1:5), and in Him is no darkness. Jesus declared Himself to be the Truth (John 14:6) and He is the true Word from God. God, in His essence, is truth–He cannot lie:

18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.–Hebrews 6:18

When you are united in Christ, to God the Father, you are pulled from a realm of lies and brought into the realm of truth. In this realm of holy living, lies have no place. You are called walk in truth, as Paul tells Timothy: 

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,–II Timothy 3:14 

When you come to Christ lying can have no place in your life and a lie should find your heart to be as a barren land to it, where it cannot grow and thrive. For this is what a lie longs to do–it wants to grow and fester in order to become more lies.

When you tell a lie, it invariably begets another lie. Other sins can be committed once, and repented of, but lying often requires more to cover for the first. When you have an affair on your spouse, lie after lie must be lived and told to keep your dalliance secret. Lying is a cumulative, snowball effect of death. 

This is the second reason God hates lying: instead of being united in Christ, a lie unites you with the “father of lies,” himself: the devil. Hear this scathing rebuke from Christ to the Pharisees, who sought to trap Him in their lies: 

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.–John 8:44 

God is the “Father of Lights” in whom there is no changing (James 1:17). When you lie, you become as Eve, who was beguiled by the Serpent (II Corinthians 11:3), who is ever-changing, and delights in breaking you away from your Father. 

Which brings you to the final reason God hates lying: it goes against the nature of His church. The church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-23): virginal, pure, and filled with love and hope. Lies have no place in the church, and when they creep in, only pain and destruction follows.

Think of the lies that tear at your church. Do church members gossip to each other, sharing half-truths and hearsay? Do staff members embellish their performance or undermine leadership with untruths? Is your small group a social gathering where you work to hide your family’s true spiritual struggles in order to keep from shocking others or lowering yourself in their eyes? 

Author Nate Larkin identifies this contagion of lies and the danger it poses on good, honest fellowship. He asks to consider the plight of Christian men: 

Let’s face it: the reason many guys have stopped telling the truth in church is because most churches actively discourage truthfulness. Even in Christian men’s groups, the cost of candor is usually painfully high, the punitive response to it swift and decisive.–Nate Larkin, “Samson and the Pirate Monks”

Jesus saw firsthand this cost of candor and truthfulness, even among His most faithful followers. He saw His disciples argue and embellish their own roles on earth, and in heaven (Mark 10:35). Jesus saw Judas, the one who would betray Him, pledge loyalty and haughtily condemn Mary for anointing Jesus’s feet with valuable perfume–while Judas was helping himself to the moneybag. And of course, Jesus saw His beloved Peter, the Rock, lie three times in denying his Lord on the night of His arrest.

If you follow Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, how can you possibly break that bond with earthly lies? What lie is more important than this blessed union with the One who went to the cross for you? 

Telling the truth may cost you a friend, your job or even your prestige in the eyes of others–but it will never cost you the love of your Heavenly Father. Once you see that in His truth you find boldness and freedom to live without lies. Like Jesus restoring Peter on the lakeside, you will be restored - and you can see earthly relationships restored as well. Can you do this? Can you live without lies? It may seem difficult be easier than you think, when you realize that you are not alone. Michael Card captures this beautifully in his song, “Living Stones:” 

By the Word of His mouth
We are made one holy house
Though we live as scattered strangers
We are not homeless, we are free
We are one family and one fold
One Overseer of our souls
Says we are His own possession
We are living stones


The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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