I eagerly opened the box from a home goods store. Would the three new counter stools be as perfect as I thought? I opened one and admired its beauty. These would definitely work.
After emptying the box, I realized I had an extra stool. Puzzled, I checked the order to see if I had ordered four stools instead of three. The order was correct. Next, I checked the charge on my credit card. It also was correct. The store had made the mistake.
I loaded the extra stool in the back of my car to return.
“Not many folks would return this,” the store employee said to my hubby and me, her eyes round with astonishment.
While she completed the paperwork, a customer walked over and commended us. I brushed it off. It was the right thing to do, after all.
I hope I don’t sound self-righteous. I’m not. The truth is, I haven’t always been honest. The Holy Spirt brought the following memory to mind to quell any notion of self-righteousness.
When I was a teen in high school, my older sister Katy took me and a friend shopping one Saturday. My mission was to find a plaid skirt to go with a tobacco-colored sweater I planned to wear to homecoming.
After trying on a few skirts, my friend helped me choose the best one. Not only was it a perfect match, it was on sale for 20% off.
When the young clerk figured my savings and requested an amount lower than expected, I paid without batting an eye.
My friend and I giggled about my good fortune on the way home. The girl had charged only 20% of the skirt’s original price.
My big sis overheard us, and scolded me. She turned her car around and went back to the store to correct the error.
As my faith grew, I recognized that action for what it was: dishonest and deceitful. It was a lie. The Bible tells us Jesus detests lying lips. And while my lips didn’t lie, I did.
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD. But those who deal truthfully are His delight.Proverbs 12:23 (NKJV)
The Bible Study Tools Dictionary defines a lie this way:
To practice deceit, falsehood, and treachery either by word or action; (Emphasis mine)
Here’s the definition found in a modern-day dictionary:
A false statement or action especially made with the intent to deceive; (Emphasis mine)
I’m sorry to say my sister’s example didn’t lead to immediate remediation. God still had work to do. He continued to mold me and help me grow spiritually.
Fast forward a few years.
During a hectic Christmas shopping season, an arts and crafts store gave me ten bucks too much in change. I pretended not to notice in the busyness of the day. I tried to rationalize my decision: Big Business lies to us all the time.
Later, waiting in the grocery checkout line, God compelled me to face my lie. I admitted my sin and asked forgiveness. I dropped a twenty in the Salvation Army bell ringer’s cup and hurried away, ashamed.
Lying is the work of Satin in our hearts. God knows we’re imperfect and will sin. But “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).
I’ve heard lying called the common cold of spiritual diseases. It’s hard not to lie. We exaggerate, we minimize, we selectively forget. We choose not to confront. We pretend not to notice. But that doesn’t change what it is. It’s a sin and will interfere with our relationship with God. Unless we repent, lying will prove deadly to our spiritual health.
As obedient Christians, we can and should embrace truth.
Lying is the common cold of spiritual diseases. #deceit #truth Click To Tweet
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its CreatorColossians 3:8-10 (NIV)
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