Lies are lies, no matter what

Published 12:42 am Saturday, September 6, 2014

C.S. Lewis once said, “A little lie is like a little pregnancy – it doesn’t take long before everyone knows.”

Lance Armstrong learned that lesson when he confessed to lying about using performance-enhancing substances that contributed to his seven Tour de France wins.  He lost all his wins and also a bronze medal he won at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Recently, another athlete learned that lesson.  USC cornerback Josh Shaw reportedly told his coaches that he sprained both of his ankles when he jumped from a second floor balcony to save his seven-year-old nephew from drowning in a pool.  Shaw was hailed as a hero, until he admitted to fabricating the story.

The 22-year-old football team captain came clean with the university and apologized, saying he regrets not telling the truth.  The school immediately suspended Shaw from all team activities. USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said, “Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable.  Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program.”

The dictionary describes a little white lie as a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to be polite.  Then there’s exaggeration, omission, and distortion.  But lies, no matter what color or size, are still lies.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “He who permits himself to tell a lie once finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual.”  English clergyman Thomas Fuller stated, “If I speak what is false, I must answer for it; if truth, it will answer for me.”  Surely, Armstrong and Shaw would agree.

There’s an old saying attributed to Aesop in the 6th century B.C., “Honesty is the best policy.”  Some think this was a favorite motto of George Washington.  In his Farewell Address as President, he commented, “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.”

In his own unique way, Mark Twain declared, “I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington.  He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.”  Twain also said, “The difference between a person who tells the truth and tells a lie is that the liar’s gotta have a better memory.”

Historical novelist Sir Walter Scott put it poetically, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”  It’s been said, “A lie is a coward’s way of trying to get out of trouble.”

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.” writes Bible teacher Beth Moore.  The Psalmist prayed, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:2).

Lying made the top ten sins when it comes to commandments from God.  Exodus 20:16 plainly tells us, “Do not lie.”  Confession to God really is good for the soul.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).