Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another (Ephesians 4:25).
How would you define a “lie”? On the other side of that coin, how would you define the “truth”? How do I know when I have told the truth?
There is no such thing as a “little white lie.”
Minimizing dishonesty is never good. We have to appreciate the fact, men, that God hates lying. God loves truth. In our hearts and in our conversations, we must begin with those assumptions.
Omitting details that make you look better is a lie.
You may have heard the phrase, “A half-truth is a whole lie.” We can manipulate how someone responds by only giving them certain details. For example, a car dealer can tell you all the great things about the car, but he may not tell you that it was in a flood last year. I may want to tell you my sob story about how someone mistreated me, but in telling you I leave out how I misbehaved in that situation and provoked that person to say hurtful things (Proverbs 18:17). Another example is how I may try to minimize my behavior by leaving out some of the more sordid details.
When we exaggerate and inflate details we are being dishonest.
This is the “big fish story” kind of talk. I caught a 7-inch bluegill but make it sound like it was a great white shark! We can exaggerate how someone treated us to set ourselves up to be victims and martyrs. In business, we are tempted to make things sound much better than they are in order to make that deal happen.
A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies (Proverbs 14:5).
Continually promising to do things and not following up on them is a form of dishonesty.
“Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble” (Proverbs 25:19). Jesus told us to let our “yes be yes and our no be no” (Matthew 5:37). Keep your word. Folks should be able to trust your word when you commit to doing something. Timothy was that kind of man for the apostle Paul; he was trustworthy (Philippians 2:19-22). David wrote that the person who will dwell with God is the one who “swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Psalm 15:1,4).
Tell the truth, and live the truth, even if it hurts.