• Keith Mathison

The Abomination of Lying Lips


There are a number of acts referred to as “abominations” in Scripture. These acts are called abominations because they are extremely serious sins. Among the abominations mentioned in Scripture are acts such as child sacrifice, sexual acts with animals, and homosexual acts (Lev. 18:20–30; 20:13), idolatry (Deut. 12:29–31; 13:13–14), divination, sorcery, and necromancy (Deut. 18:9–14). Many conservative Christians are happy to acknowledge that these acts are serious sins. There is one sin, however, that many professing Christians commit on a regular basis without recognizing that it too is an abomination.

Along with the sins listed above, the Word of God counts lying lips as an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 12:22). We do not often think about this, but using your words to communicate falsehoods (and that includes using your fingers to type them) is in the same category as sins such as child sacrifice, bestiality, homosexual behavior, and idolatry. That is how evil the sin of lying is.

Consider also the list of abominations in Proverbs 6:16–19:

There are six things that the LORD hates,

seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

and hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked plans,

feet that make haste to run to evil,

a false witness who breathes out lies,

and one who sows discord among brothers.

Notice that communicating falsehood is found in this list twice: “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who breathes out lies.” God hates these things because they are abominations. Over and over and over again, God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that all forms of communicating falsehoods, whether lying, slander, bearing false witness, gossip, and deceitfulness, are evil.

One of the Ten Commandments, in fact, is, “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exod. 20:16). Being truthful is central to the moral law of God. It lays the ethical foundation for what we encounter throughout Scripture regarding our words. Consider this small sample:

Leviticus 19:16 -- You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people.

Psalm 5:9 -- For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.

Psalm 101:5 -- Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy.

Proverbs 19:5 -- A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.

Isaiah 59:2–4 -- but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.

Jeremiah 9:5 -- Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity.

Matthew 15:19 -- For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

John 8:44 -- You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Romans 1:28–31 -- And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Ephesians 4:31 -- Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

2 Timothy 3:2–5 -- For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

1 John 2:21 -- I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

Revelation 22:15 -- Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

This is only a small fraction of the passages in God’s Word that reveal the wickedness of speaking lies and slander. The devil was the first liar, and all who bear false witness, lying and slandering, are following in his footsteps. He is not only the father of lies. He is the father of liars, and those following in his footsteps are heading to the same eternal destination.

I don’t know who will read this blog, but for those who are Christians, avoiding dishonesty and the spread of falsehoods has to be a priority in our lives if we are to faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Lying, slander, gossip, deceit, etc. should not and must not exist among us. We are to be people who love the truth and speak the truth.

My concern, based on what I have witnessed, is that a lot of Christians are not taking the abominable practices of lying and spreading falsehood as seriously as Scripture calls us to take them. Consider our behavior online. When we are online, many of us are contributing to the spread of falsehoods, either directly by speaking lies and slander or else indirectly by sharing, liking, and re-tweeting the falsehoods of others. When we do so, it is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

How often do we shamelessly twist a person’s words in our online comments to score rhetorical points at the expense of truthfulness? How many times do we share an online friend’s post or article without doing anything to verify its truthfulness? How often do we make, or “like,” or re-tweet, a dishonest or slanderous comment knowing full well that it is twisting the truth or denying it altogether? How often do we misrepresent the views of a person with whom we disagree, justifying our lies on the grounds that because the person in question is on “the other side,” the law of God regarding truth and falsehood doesn’t apply to our words? If you think you have to lie in order to win, you've already lost. Every single time we contribute to the spread of falsehood, online or elsewhere, we are committing an act that our sovereign Lord considers an abomination.

We who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, are to speak the truth because truth is characteristic of our holy God, and our God delights in truth (John 14:6–7; Psalm 51:6). Our God’s Word is truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17), and we are to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Followers of the God who is truth are to put away all falsehood and speak only the truth (Eph. 4:25).

Before we post or share anything online, where the temptation to compromise with falsehood appears to be especially strong, we need to seek God in prayer and search our hearts. Before we post an article on a blog, before we post a Tweet, before we post our thoughts on Facebook or any other social media platform, before we comment on another person’s post, before we re-tweet something, before we share a link or share someone else’s comments or links, before we add anything to the never-ending flow of words online, we need to stop and ask one simple question: Is what I am about to say true? If we are in doubt, we need to refrain from clicking that button until we are certain, because if we contribute to the deceit, lies, and falsehood, we are committing an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. It is better to keep our mouths shut altogether than to continue engaging in this evil behavior.

Our culture, both online and offline, is inundated in satanic deceitfulness, dishonesty, lies, slander, and gossip. We who are Christians are not to engage in the abominable practices of those in this godless and dark culture. We are called to be a light in the darkness – not to add to the darkness. Let others speak lies if they will. God will deal with that in His good time. Let us speak the truth because the truth is good, the truth is beautiful, and the truth is pleasing to God.

If we search our hearts and realize we have sinned by speaking or spreading falsehood, lies, and slander, we have a Savior. Thankfully, Jesus Christ in His death on the cross for our sins, atoned for the sin of lying too. Lying is an abomination, but it is not the unforgivable sin. If we realize that we have been guilty of this sin, we are called to repent. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9).

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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