Perhaps the foundational choice that we make in our interaction with others is the one of truth versus falsehood. Are we going to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," or will we compromise with that principle?
One of the tragic stories in the New Testament is found at the beginning of Acts 5. The early Church was just becoming established, and certain physical needs had to be addressed. Brethren were selling possessions in order to help provide funds for others. Ananias and Sapphira did the same—but then lied about how much they had earned on the sale of their land. Why they did this is not stated. Maybe they wanted to retain some of the money (which was their right to do—see verse 4), yet still give the impression of generosity and sacrifice. Whatever the reasons, they had lied to God by trying to give a false impression to their brethren. Their lives ended abruptly.
It is the foundation of the truth that Jesus Christ came to establish. He not only preached and taught the Word of God, but demonstrated in all His deeds that He acted on truth. He complimented people when they were right. He corrected them when they were wrong. He called the disciples His friends, yet rebuked them strongly when needed. He never told a single lie—not even a "little white lie." The apostle John especially conveys Christ's dedication to the truth.
- John 4:23-24—"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.'"
- John 8:32—"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
- John 14:6—"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'"
David insightfully wrote in his repentant Psalm 51 that God desires "truth in the inward parts" (verse 6). This is also known as "integrity of heart" (1 Kings 9:4; Psalm 78:72). It means we are honest in our relationships with others. Honesty is our principle. We act and speak the truth—in love (Ephesians 4:15)—but not "little lies," false flattery or deceit.
We return again to a contrast between Jesus Christ and Satan. In John 8:44, Christ says this of Satan: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." Satan lies to deceive and falsely accuse (Revelation 12:9-11).
In 3 John we read of Diotrephes, who used lies against the apostle John and attempted to raise himself to a leading position in the Church. "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church" (verses 9-10).
Lies cause division. They separate friends. Decisions based on false information run amok. Of the seven things listed in Proverbs 6 that God hates, at least three of them have to do with lying. In the end, all liars will have their place in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God views this issue very seriously.
Proverbs 12:17 states: "He who speaks truth declares righteousness." All of us know people of integrity, who are honest and candid, who seek the truth. We trust such people. We can rely on them. They are people we want friendships with. They are people of principle. These are the people whom God will use in His Kingdom.