A Harmless Lie

Ever wonder why some people make a big deal out of a harmless lie? A lie where no one gets hurt, no one is the target of the lie, and there is no resulting consequence? I’m talking about a white lie.

a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

I experienced a situation like this today. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, it sort of just slipped out. I was having a conversation with a colleague about the weather, which has been colder than normal for summer where I live. I mentioned that it was warm in the sun, and I noticed myself finish the sentence that I spent most of the day on the deck. I spent about a half hour on the deck. When I finished saying what would definitely be considered a trivial lie, it made me wonder why it had happened.

I didn’t go to work today intending to lie to anyone. In fact, I believe I am very honest, but not today. Today I lied about something that doesn’t matter. I have no explanation other than maybe I thought at the moment a half hour wasn’t enough time to prove my point that it was warmer in the sun, so I needed to embellish to better support my position.

I’m bothered by it because if I could do it over, I wouldn’t have used those words. I would have said I spent a little time in the sun and it felt nice, and left it at that.

The main point of this is why I lied. Without premeditation or forethought, I lied in order to be taken more seriously. Obviously this comes from a fear of inadequacy. It likely comes from my history and the things I’ve gone through in my life. You may have your own circumstances that will sneak a white lie into a conversation without forethought.

So, is this lie a big deal? No one got hurt, it had absolutely no significance, and the detail I gave really didn’t alter the conversation much.

I believe it is a big deal. I didn’t like the feeling it gave me afterward. Had I corrected what I said, he wouldn’t have cared much and I would have felt worse. There is a reason for those feelings, they are a warning sign. The bad feeling is so you don’t get too comfortable with sin. When we say to ourselves, it didn’t mean anything, it was small and insignificant, we move the bar of what is acceptable.

Think of it as climbing a ladder, each rung in the ladder is exactly the same distance from the other. The first step, you aren’t that far from the ground. You might say you have gone a very insignificant and meaningless distance away from the ground. What if every time you took a step, you decided the new rung was the new ground level (acceptable level). If you only look at the distance between where you were before a step and where you are after, they’ll always look like insignificant steps. However, if you look at the distance you have gone after a handful of steps, you’d realize you have actually done something much more significant.

I don’t ever want to look back at things I have done and realize I continued to move the bar of what is acceptable so that every action seemed insignificant. I don’t want to look back and find out I’ve taken a lot of steps in the wrong direction. There are no harmless lies, whenever we lie, we harm ourselves. We re-calibrate our measurement of right and wrong then overtime a lot of insignificant steps have actually moved us a great distance from where we were.

The devil lies, Jesus says he is the father of lies.

John 8:42-44

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Jesus does not lie, he is the truth. God is the truth.

John 14:6-7

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

I think I can speak for the Christians out there reading this when I say: I want God, not the devil, to be my father.


4 thoughts on “A Harmless Lie

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