Forms of Lying
You may feel you don’t lie—but do you slander someone or spread gossip? What about flattery and exaggeration? The following four items are all forms of lying and are sin before the eyes of God.
Slander and gossip
Slander is a sin that is far too common in the church today. Many times we engage in slandering the character of others or simply saying things that we know are not true, yet we repeat them and even go out of our way to spread them with the intent of hurting the person we are speaking of. In the same way, gossip is the unnecessary bearing of information that may or may not be true, but is always harmful to the subject. Gossip is easy to dish out, but far harder to take.“He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13).“The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body” (Proverbs 18:8).
If you wonder if something is gossip and whether you should repeat it, keep in mind the following points:
- Is it True?
- Will it Help?
- Is it Inspiring?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?
Among the subtlest forms of deceit is flattery. Flattery is saying things to a person’s face that you would never say behind his back. Many people flatter someone to get something from them. They tell the person things that they don’t really believe themselves. This is a form of lying.
Exaggeration is very easy to do. We exaggerate stories to make them more interesting, exaggerate statistics or numbers to impress people, and one of the most common forms of exaggeration is to exaggerate our skills or experience in order to get a job or a promotion. Exaggeration is stretching the facts, and is another form of lying.
Sometimes we hear somebody say something that we know for a fact is not true and we remain silent. This is slander by silence. And sometimes we conceal activities or things we know we should confess or admit, but remain silent to protect ourselves. This is a form of lying also.