Why Do We Lie? I Can Think of 6 Reasons

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There are some jokes that you know a preacher is going to tell. Like whenever he goes through a list like the 10 commandments.

Almost as if it’s a duty forced upon him, he’ll tell the joke, “All of you that didn’t raise your hand and confess to lying—just told a lie.” The congregation dutifully chuckles as if they’ve heard the joke for the first time.

But are they lying with their fake laughter?

I’m asking this just to point out that we can get distracted about lying and try to justify our lies as if a good portion of them are actually for the sake of others and advancement of the kingdom.

Poppycock.

Here are six reasons why I usually lie. And you do too. If you try to tell me different, I’ll call you a liar:

1. To impress people.

Whatever I like about myself and whatever I think I need to exaggerate about myself to cause you to like me and have a positive view of me.

Whether I lie about how much I can bench press, my skills at computer programming, my knowledge of an iPhone, the number of people I’ve dated, the grade I got on a test score or the funny thing I said (but really only said in my head), I lie because I want to impress you.

2. To escape consequences.

Probably the most frequent reason we lie is to save our tails.

It’s obvious in small children, but only because they aren’t as good as us at hiding it. If we think we are going to get in trouble for something, we will craft really big stories to get out of it. Adlai Stevenson is correct, “Lying is an abomination to the Lord and a very present help in times of trouble”.

3. To keep peace.

This is very often the reason for our silence. This is the same reason why I am sometimes silent in sharing the gospel—I want to keep peace.

It’s also sometimes why I tell a lie rather than a truth when somebody asks me a very serious question. I lie and tell them what they want to hear rather than the truth.

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Mike Leake
Mike Leake serves as an associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Jasper, Indiana, and is pursuing a Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nikki, have two young children. Mike’s writing home is mikeleake.net. Mike is also the author of Torn to Heal:God's Good Purpose in Suffering.

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