The Big Trouble with Little White Lies

White lie.
Fib.
Falsehood.
Fabrication.
Exaggeration.
Half truth.

No matter what you call it (or how you try to justify it), lying is lying, and all of us have been guilty of it. If we could see all those lies flying around, I have a hunch we’d discover that lying is the most common sin of all.

We tend to think of lying in terms of degrees of deception. We think that “a little white lie” to save someone’s feelings is not that bad. (After all, we’re just trying to make them feel good, right?) We justify an exaggeration as no big deal because it was rooted in partial truth. (And nobody gets hurt when we exaggerate, right?)

As innocent as these lies seem, there are no degrees of lying with God. Lying is sinful. With that standard in mind, here are three biblical truths about lying.

1. Lying comes from the Liar.

A few months ago, I was listening to a sermon on lying. The pastor stated, “You are never more like the devil than when you lie.”

Gasp for air. Choke. What did he say?

In John 8:44, Jesus was talking about Satan when He said, “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.”

When we lie, we are speaking Satan’s native language.

When we lie, we are speaking Satan’s native language. All Satan does is lie. The first time he ever speaks in the Bible, he is lying to Eve. When we lie, we intentionally deceive, just like Satan.

I don’t want to speak Satan’s native language; I want to speak God’s. He speaks the language of truth!

Every word of God proves true (Prov. 30:5).

2. God despises lying.

I’ll let God’s Word speak for itself.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16).

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight (Prov. 12:22).

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (Col. 3:9).

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another (Eph. 4:25).

God cannot tolerate sin, lying included. When we lie, even if it’s a lie we convince ourselves is “harmless,” we sin against God and need to ask for forgiveness.

3. Lying takes over.

As with any sin, if we convince ourselves that it’s not that bad and continue in it, it will eventually take over our lives.

James 1:13–15 explains, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

After we give in to the temptation to lie, the sin of lying will continue to grow if we do not repent. Our lies will increase in frequency and severity, and eventually the end result is death.

This doesn’t necessarily mean physical death. It could be the death of a friendship when a friend discovers you’ve lied to them. It could be the death of your reputation. It could also be the death of trust between you and your parents when they catch you in a lie. (For more on this, circle back to Wednesday’s post, “How I Lost (And Regained) My Parents’ Trust.”)

Any sin you leave unchecked will bring the death of something into your life. No little white lie is worth the cost.

If you realize that lying is something you have a problem with, confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness. He wants your life to be filled with His truth!

Do you need to repent of the sin of lying?
Do you try to convince yourself that lying is no big deal?

Tell us the truth in the comments below.

About Author

Sarah Garrett

Sarah Garrett is a passionate educator and founder of the Transformed4More Ministries that she runs with her identical twin sister. It is her desire to reach struggling teenagers and tell them about the transformative power and love of God. Her book, "So, You Think You Are Ready to Date?" released in October 2017.

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  • Emily Anderson

    Thank you for this blog post! I really needed it. This week/weekend I’m trying to be really honest/truthful. I often find myself exaggerating my stories and I want that to stop. Thank you LYB and Sarah! ~ Emily

    • Transformed4More

      Thanks for reading!

  • Prestelle Egbu

    What a great blog! White lies are so popular today and I’m very glad ya’ll decided to talk about it. Keep up the good blogs! 🙂

    • Transformed4More

      Thank you for reading!

  • Hosaena

    This is such a truth filled blog!! Thank you Sarah!!

    • Transformed4More

      I’m glad you liked it!

  • Virginia Wakio

    Thank you so much I have learnt and has reminded me alot as much as am a child of God I almost forgot even a small lie is a sin

    • Transformed4More

      I’m glad this post resonated with you.

  • Krystel Lumacad

    wow ! Thank you so much for this post. I have learned something for this post! God bless

    • Transformed4More

      Thank you!

  • Sarah

    Wow what a great post! It really challenged me!

    • Transformed4More

      Thank you!

  • Anna

    The Bible makes it clear that lying is wrong, yet some lies are for the greater good–they save or protect life. Rehab in the Bible lies when asked if she was hiding spies. The Bible neither condones nor condemns this. Corrie Ten Boom lied to officers about the Jews she was hiding. So, I guess my question is, are there times to lie? Lying is a sin, and therefore wrong, but isn’t it necessary at times?

    • Transformed4More

      This is a good point, but one I do not feel that I am qualified to answer. I wrote this point more to make the audience aware that little lies can turn into big lies and become easier and easier to do. I just don’t want anyone to get into a habit of lying.

    • You pose a question that has been asked many, many times. I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this, either. But I’ll give it a try. Is it ever right to lie? In an evil world, and in a desperate situation, it may be the right thing to commit a lesser evil, lying, in order to prevent a much greater evil. However, it’s important to realize that such instances are extremely rare. It all likelihood, the majority of us will never face a situation in our lives where it is right to lie.

      The Bible never commends the lies that were told by Rahab or the midwives. Nowhere in Scripture will we be told that lying is the right thing to do.

      The thing for us to keep in mind is that as children of God, we are to reflect God’s character in all we do, including the words we say (1 Pet. 1:6). God tells us that He is the Truth and cannot lie (Titus 1:2). So our words should also be true. We are told not to lie in Colossians 3:9 as well as many other places. I believe it honors God when people can count on us to be women of our word and not women who lie.

      • Anna

        Thank you, this is a really good perspective and I agree.