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LIAR - LIAR

Dr. Stephen Phinney


I agree, this is a horrible remake of the original lead actor in "Liar, Liar."

However, it makes my point. Enjoy the article.


Even though this article will fall on mostly deaf ears, we must address the topic.


My logic in saying mostly deaf ears is relevant. I am in my late 60s as I write this. Forty of those years have been spent in full-time ministry. Out of those 40 years, I learned a fundamental fact: many Christians are liars; minimally, they tell lies.


When I was a child, I was tagged with the description of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." That is a fancy label for liar. Recently, a relative wrote me a four-page letter slicing and dicing me with a plethora of lies I told during my childhood - attempting to prove what I say today is all lies. While admitting to myself the truth of this hostile download, I realized something important. The flesh from the past marks a man for the rest of his life, minimally by humanity's perspective.

 

"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…"

(1 Timothy 4:1-2)

 

Do all Christians lie? Yes, most do – especially to themselves. Are all Christians liars? No. The difference between telling lies and being a liar deserves more attention, particularly amongst Christians. Without an objective distinction, we end up casting the first stone.


"But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’" (John 8:7)


Our starting place is all humans are born into lies/sin. What you are born in is what you are! Secondly, all humans have flesh, which thrives on lies. I believe a lie is to tell a truth that hides the elements of the full Truth. It is safe to say that all people hate lies because they hate being lied to. Even liars demand you tell them the truth, provided you leave the person of Truth, Jesus, out of the scenario.


 

The general population despises absolute Truth, using people and making them victims of their manipulation and hypocrisy. Yes, the one telling a lie and the compulsive liar is guilty of manipulation and hypocrisy. But few are willing to admit to this.

 

One who lies is an individual who chooses to lie. A liar is a person who lies as a lifestyle and has no control over their lying. Ultimately, a liar becomes unaware that they are lying. The highest percentage of Christians tout integrity. Each one declares that ‘the Truth will set you free.’ It makes them feel like people of Truth, exempted from lying because they feel contempt for it. If the Truth always sets us free, why do we habituate lies?


The flesh propagates that lying sets us free. It enables many Christians to avoid brokenness (cut corners). It removes the pain that comes with living in Truth. Lying liberates one from the burden and embarrassment of reconciling with others they honestly offended through their Christianized platitudes (lies). The flesh finds freedom in avoiding the challenging mandates of the Holy Scriptures. So…we lie. Sin forms in the Christian’s life by holding onto unforgiveness. Unforgiveness becomes a diverse tactic in avoiding the real issue; the perpetrator(s) is also a closet liar, not just the victim.


Frequently, Christians lie to maintain an image of Truth, fully knowing that what they do is an abomination to the Lord. Why? Because there are tradeoffs. What is the most common form of lying for Christians? Silence and Christianized platitudes. Christians who do not own the truth that they’re either lying or possibly liars are duped into thinking they are protecting an image of integrity that doesn't exist. Remember, integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and moral uprightness.


Lying isn’t just the avoidance of Truth; it’s also a distortion of the person of Truth (Jesus), which becomes a confession of lying to the face of Jesus. Liars try to get away with this by trivializing the inconvenient Truths of Jesus while overemphasizing the Biblical Truths that serve them. It is the most common method for developing a hypocrite. The not-so-funny thing is that hypocrites are almost always referenced in the Word as liars.



Why is it so difficult for Christians to live the Truths they speak?


"Why do you look at the speck [lie]that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log [liar] that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take [address] the speck [lie] out of your eye [life],’ and behold, the log [liar] is in your own eye [life]? You hypocrite, first take [address] the log [liar] out of your own eye [life], and then you will see clearly to take the speck [lie] out of your brother's eye [life].” (Matthew 7:3-5)


The term speck addresses the Christian who lies, and the term log addresses the issue of the liar. According to Jesus, there is a BIG difference.


With the challenging words in this passage, Jesus urges the reader, both then and now, to carefully examine their nasty habits of lying (hypocrisy). Most go about accusing others of lying when, in fact, they are ignoring their sin of being liars. Those who practice this are revealing hidden hypocrisy.


How do you find a liar over one who tells lies? Look for the log. Loggers are deceptively hiding behind their self-righteousness, usually in the form of punishment through silence. When they come out of the closet, watch out because they viciously focus on the errors of others - YOU.


Unfortunately, the Christians themselves provide the world’s view of authentic Christianity. The most common question asked by interested onlookers is, “If Christianity is true, why are there hypocrites in the church?” In other words, if Christianity is authentic, why are there so many liars in the church who practice the sins they address? Since the days of Jesus, Christianity was supposed to transform the liars into Truth-Sayers.


Statistics show us that the first piece of evidence the world watches for in Christians is forgiveness. Numerically, there are more unforgiving Christians than there are forgiving Christians. So…if the world is waiting for the evidence of authentic salvation through the Christians' ability to forgive, they better not hold their breath. Surveys on Christians show that non-Christians don’t look any different from authentic Christians, sad to say.

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines hypocrisy as follows: “The assuming of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, with dissimulation of real character or inclinations, especially in respect of religious life or beliefs; hence in a general sense, dissimulation, pretense, and sham.” It also defines a hypocrite: “One who falsely professes to be virtuously or religiously inclined; one who pretends to have feelings or beliefs of a higher order than his real ones; hence generally, a dissembler; a pretender.”

 

In summary, let’s review hypocrisy and man’s character:


  1. False appearance – not who they say they are.

  2. Dissimulation of real character – presents a character opposite of their true character.

  3. Dissimulation of religion or those who don’t believe in authentic Biblical doctrines.

  4. Pretense and sham – their efforts are fake and a sham.

  5. Define themselves as a hypocrite – they falsely profess things unbelieved.

  6. Pretends to have feelings or beliefs – generally a pretender.


It’s no wonder why the Lord is so outspoken against the hypocrites. Hypocrites are people of malice, and their actions test the Lord.


Hypocrites love to punish others with their self-righteousness. Too bad for them, though; since Jesus lives in the authentic born-again believers, we too can perceive malice in others.


“But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, 'Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?'” (Matthew 22:18)


The deceptive act of hypocrisy is embedded in a deep-rooted belief that one is better than Jesus and has the prerogative to test Jesus AND His authentic Bridal members. Testing in this passage is peirazo, “to tempt; make one prove themselves.”


Hypocrites hate authority, minimally having a leader tell them what to do or what is right. The hypocrites that Jesus addressed are the same cowards His Body, His Church, deals with today. Each one pretended to have a great deal of respect for Him by calling Him Master and complimenting Him with displaced lies of pretense, yet they laid a trap to ensnare Him and bring Him into disgrace or trouble; a habit that liars commonly practice when fronting others while hiding behind the skirt of self-righteousness.


Our bottom line is found in the words Jesus said to these hypocrites:


"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)


 

We cannot ignore these two questions: Are compulsive liars authentically born-again? And can Christians choose to lie on occasion without being labeled liars? Let’s see what this passage from Revelation communicates to us:

 

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8)


I believe there is a significant difference between choosing to lie versus being a liar. The latter is a positional identity statement. Furthermore, Jesus separates eight types of people who might claim salvation in Christ:


  1. Cowards - people who lack courage in standing for Truth.

  2. Unbelievers – those who believe with their mouths.

  3. Hateful – those who push back when reviled.

  4. Murders – those who kill with intent.

  5. Immoral – those of adultery and fornication.

  6. Sorcerers – those who embrace witchcraft as an acceptable practice.

  7. Idolaters – those who put other gods before God.

  8. Liars – are those who practice lying as a lifestyle.


The takeaway Truth from our passage in Revelation confirms that Jesus seems to have a strong opinion regarding hypocrites – those who claim to know Him as their Savior but practice an opposing identity lifestyle.


“…and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word.” (John 8:55)


Liars and hypocrites make Jesus a liar. How ugly is that? And how is it that they do this? Liars and hypocrites will not face their own sin, and most act like they have no sin.


“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10)


I doubt you will hear many liars say that they hate God. The truth is their genuine hatred of their brothers and sisters proves otherwise.


“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)


Don’t believe every Christian you encounter. Watch and listen to whether they fulfill the most significant manifestation of authentic Christianity, forgiving and restoring relationships instantly! It takes less than ten seconds. “I was wrong, will you forgive me? Let’s rebuild what the enemy has torn down.”


MY FLESH IS A LIAR


Paul said, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. (Romans 7:18) The first step to being free in Christ is knowing that in our flesh, there is no good. However, living in and through the Spirit, everything that is good resides in the authentic believer.


The label "liar" is a perfect descriptive of my flesh. The title of "Truth Sayer" is an identity marker of who I am in Christ. Battling my reputation vs. living in the Truth that it isn't about my reputation, is the golden key. Yes, there are moments I leave this key in my dresser drawer, however, it never fails, the Spirit sends me back to pocket that key.


I hate my flesh! I have learned that when others attack my flesh, I am compelled to agree with them. Also, I have discovered that the defense of the flesh is a Satanic trap. I have no recall of EVER winning that battle. The truth is, Satan tells the truth regarding the matters of my flesh. He uses those truths to tempt me in betrayal of who Christ says I am in Him. I admit, sometimes he is successful but as I grow wiser, my worldview of the organic liar is none other than the father of lies, Satan.


The irony? My greatest weakness has become my greatest strength.


The great news is, the Grace of Jesus Christ covers every lie that proceeds out of our mouths. However, for Grace to apply, one must be filled with the Grace Life of Jesus - meaning you are a born-again indwelt believer. Without Him, we all are liars.





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