I like tools! I suspect for most men that is not much of a revelation. The usual response is probably, “Well, why wouldn’t he?” Although, we rarely analyze these things, I suspect that most men like tools because they empower us. With the right tools, we feel like we can do anything. But, if the tool fails — then we are reduced to using a butter knife to assemble a bookshelf! It is a much more difficult task.
I would like for you to consider the most powerful tool of all. No, it is not the Workmate. I remember the advertisements when Black and Decker first introduced the Workmate. It was supposed to be able to do thousands of different jobs. Even though I was but a young boy, I thought I had to have one of those. It had so much power to do so many different tasks! It didn’t matter that those were tasks that I rarely, if ever, did; I had to have one. But the tool I am considering is far more powerful. The tool that I am thinking about is the word. It conveys information and ideas. With the right combination of words, you can do nearly anything. I just spent 10 minutes considering which tools I wanted to use in the previous sentence to transmit the thoughts I had to the reader. In the word processor that I am using, the menu that contains the spell checker and thesaurus is located under the name “Tools”. Words have changed the world far more than any other tool. Look at how men like Mahatma Ghandi, Boris Yeltsin, Confucius, and Thomas Jefferson have changed the world, in dramatic or subtle manner, through the power of words. They did not use weapons of war, or any other tool. Imagine for a moment what could happen if you give the most powerful being the most powerful tool. They could make anything! Now open your Bible and read Genesis 1. That is exactly what happened in the beginning. God did not create the world by waving His hands over it, or striking it with His staff. He spoke — and it was! God created the world by the power of His word.
Yet tools can be misused. Consider a screwdriver that worked just the opposite of what you wanted. If you tried to remove a screw, it would tighten. Or if you wanted to tighten a screw, it would remove it. You would quickly come to hate such a tool. That is my regard for lying. It takes this powerful tool and uses it against us. I believe that is why God detests this evil also (Prov 30:6; Rev 21:8). He wants mankind to know truth (2 Pet 3:9), but lying does just the opposite. What is the first sin mentioned in the Bible? Eating the forbidden fruit? No! That was the first sin of mankind. But, the FIRST sin is the lie of Satan! All sin is the result of believing a lie of one sort or another. Either we believe that something is not wrong, when it is; or we believe we will not be discovered, when we will. Or perhaps we believe that we will not have to pay the penalty, when we must; or that the satisfaction of the sin is worth the penalty we will pay, which it never is. You can see all of those lies with the sin of Adam and Eve. Satan said it was not wrong. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God. They both tried to shift the blame to others. Eve ate the fruit because she wanted the benefits it would give her.
All lies are dangerous. They are sort of like loaded guns. You do not treat a loaded gun casually. Neither should you treat lies, or liars, casually. One very dangerous lie is the “little” lie. That very phrase is a lie! There is no such thing as a “little” lie, or a “harmless” lie. Would you mind if someone shot you with a “little” gun or a “harmless” gun? Why do we condone or accept some lies, and liars? Perhaps we can understand the strong Biblical connection between truth and the new man (Eph 4:14-25). Perhaps we will also be very wary of fellowship with known liars (2 Cor 6:14-17).
Perhaps the most dangerous lie of all is the one we tell ourselves. If we lie to ourselves enough, eventually we believe it to be true. I think that is the seared conscience that Paul speaks about in 1 Timothy. I have a friend whom I believe has done just that. He was unhappy in his marriage and eventually looked for fulfillment with other women. He knew that to be wrong, but kept telling himself it was justified because of his circumstances. I spend several evenings talking with him and he repented and tried to walk in the steps of Jesus. The problem was, he spent many more evenings listening to the liar — himself! Now, he is divorced and remarried, but he still calls himself a faithful child of God. Although it is difficult to know for certain with him, I think he honestly believes that in his heart. I know that is incredible to imagine, but it is the result of hearing so many lies from himself.
What can we do to avoid his fate? Speak truth, every one with his neighbor. Accept nothing less than truth from your neighbor. Determine to be honest with yourself, even when you don’t like what you hear. Value truth highly as a powerful tool from God (Jn 1:14-17; 14:6; 18:37).