“Hi…. it’s sooooo nice to see you!” The smile is plastered onto the face. Kisses are blown into the air while the barely touching hug gives out a “I’m a fragile porcelain doll”! Next comes along the question, “How are you doing?” yet all the while walking along…. perhaps without even a pause in the step!
The sad part is that a number of us believers fall into this trap once in a while, if not regularly – especially at the church entrance! We want to be ‘polite’ and not offend people so we revert to pretending. Yet even sadder is the fact that others do this regularly ending up as trained actors! If we were true followers of Christ, would we be actors? Would we full of falsehood? How did Jesus respond to this?
Agar asks the Lord for two things requesting to not refuse him of them before he dies! His very first plea was,
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me” (Proverbs 30:8)
Even simple things such as a smile plastered on the face which doesn’t reach the heart or a question that is asked merely for formality and not waiting for the answer of the recipient are acts of falsehood. They lack sincerity…. The question becomes a lie – because if we truly meant it, we would pause and hear the person out. I recall a time that I was feeling so low and dragged myself out of bed to church. As I neared the church entrance, the pastor’s wife approached me, hugged me and asked me the question that I so wanted to hear, “How are you?”. Happy to have been presented with an opportunity to unload my burdens, I began to answer tears streaming down my cheeks… and a few minutes into I realised I was talking to the wind… Well, it couldn’t have been the wind, because surely the wind would have carried my words to this insensitive pastor’s wife… So, hmmm I must have been talking to thin air!!! An opportunity for healing someone was lost in an instant… ahhh but then again, it wasn’t from the stage / pulpit gaining recognition!
- I read Psalm 7:14 in the NKJV and I saw stars (to say the least!!). What is your response to this verse?
“Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood”
The NASB also uses the term falsehood in this verse while the NIV uses the word disillusionment and the NLT uses the word lies.
- How does it make you feel that it is the wicked that brings forth falsehood?
Psalm 119:118 states, “You reject all those who stray from your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood.”
How many of us are deceiving ourselves and God for that matter in practising deceit / falsehood by not lovingly obeying God all the while professing to be His followers? Whoa…. I just took a deep sigh here!
God sees our hearts and not our appearances. Jesus never hesitated to rebuke the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law – the religious leaders. He told them, “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28). In fact, Jesus addressed them as “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, “dogs”‘, blind guides the list goes on… Jesus rebukes them on many counts listed in Matthew 23 for example. In fact for the religious leaders who put so much weight on the law on tithing (of mint, anise and cumin), He condemns them, “blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (23:24).
In fact Jesus speaks of the place for hypocrites – “where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51). The book of Revelation warns us by stating who will not enter the gates to the Holy City,
“Outside are the dogs, those who practice magi, arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters AND EVERYONE WHO LOVES AND PRACTICES FALSEHOOD” (Revelation 22:15).
[Phew… I let out a sigh of relief here… God sees our hearts and will know whether we love falsehood or not… By His grace, may we not love it nor may we not practice it.. but let’s always check ourselves to make sure we don’t fall in this trap!!!]
Jeremiah prophesies, “everyone is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely” (8:10). A few verses prior to that, he writes, “How can you say, “We are wise and the law of the LORD is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood” (8:8). Isaiah writes “conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood” following writing “departing from our God”.
Whoa… our falsehood stems from departing from our God.. Well thinking about it, it does make sense because God expects us to be like light and to be holy and to speak the truth in love… How can we be fake and imitate darkness then? How can we show favouritism and show partiality? Are we professing to be His Followers and then departing from the truth? Following are Jesus’ words as recorded in Mark 7:6:
“Isaiah was right when He prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men”
- Are we being hypocrites in honouring God with our lips but our hearts far from Him, worshipping Him in vain with teaching none but rules taught by men?
Paul didn’t hesitate to pull up Peter in public for that matter in regards to his hypocritical behaviour and writes that “even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy”. This same Paul who had demonstrate his values in action, also writes,
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
Paul gives us food for thought on this matter in 1 Timothy 4:2 where he writes about a select few who were “speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron“.
Let us always seek God’s wisdom and be led by His Spirit so that we will be convicted of the occasions where we practice falsehood and hypocrisy. On the other hand let us ask Him for discernment to distinguish the fruit from others around us. We need to watch out, as every one of us can fall into this trap, none of us are exempt, not even those who have a ‘title’:
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:14-18).
Meditate on these verses. Try to perhaps even memorise them! It is good to know the differences in the qualities of earthly wisdom and that of God! The wisdom from above is without partiality or hypocrisy (along with other things). Remember, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace BY THOSE WHO MAKE PEACE!
And when we are on the receiving end of falsehood, let’s echo the thought of the Psalmist in 119:78 (NKJV),
“Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood;
But I will meditate on Your precepts”