Colossians 3: 9

Do not lie to one another, since you stripped off the old self with its evil practices.

This third chapter of Colossians is Paul’s instruction regarding how one’s life changes after accepting Christ. The context is dying to the old self and putting on the new self which is in the image of Jesus. Within that context Paul wrote identifying those things which are part of the old life, the dead life, if you will. He also contrasts those dead things with the characteristics which accrue to the new life in Christ. We have been stripped of that old person with its dead, corrupt ways and lying is one of the traits which must be buried.

It is not a surprise that lying is one of the old dead habits of an unregenerate soul. If asked, most people, even non-believers would identify lying as an undesirable trait. However, if you listen to unguarded talk and watch the actual behaviors of people, you will very likely conclude that lying is not as abhorrent in actual practice as it is philosophically. In fact, I believe you will discover that lying is actually acceptable in many circles, especially in certain circumstances.

My purpose in writing about this today is to suggest that there is no such thing as an innocent lie. Clearly Paul’s teaching leads to this conclusion. Additionally, Jesus’ teachings are definitive in this regard. There is no such thing as a white lie. They are all black, ugly, and destructive. It is not acceptable to lie and then say, “Oh, I was just kidding.” Truth is a value, and a necessary Christian value.

Having written all this, I readily admit that I am preaching to the choir. You are the people who already know this and who model Jesus’ truths. However, we need to extend our reach. We need to encourage one another. Telling the truth isn’t always convenient and sometimes there are consequences we wish not to face. None the less, God always knows when we lie and lying in His face is an even greater consequence. So you might be the person who needs to help someone else tell the truth when it is uncomfortable to do so. You are also teachers and leaders and so you have a voice which influences others. As we influence others, we all need to encourage, and teach people to speak truths. Teach, train and expect others to value truth too.

Do not lie to one another because that is part of the old self which is supposed to have died and been buried. We have been raised up with Christ and are putting on the new self, which is redeemed in his blood and reflected as an image of his character. Strength, truth and grace to you today!