Being untruthful hurts the speaker more than we realize, especially when we are lying about another person. Where we think we are harming the person the lie is about, the truth is that we are placing ourselves in a position we will not be able to get out of.
We corner ourselves with our untruths, both in this life and on Judgment Day.
But we know that. What we don’t recognize is the truth about liars that makes their lies so hurtful.
It isn’t the person being lied about who suffers the most. It isn’t the liar who suffers the most. It is the people who either believed those lies and helped spread them or knew what was untrue and did nothing to stop it.
The co-conspirators suffer the most damage.
The individual who chooses to accept gossip or a rumor to be a truth, or who chooses not to quash the lie swiftly, is worse than the liar.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
From the Bible
We have received guidance for how we are to react to lies and deceit. We have been told that there are ramifications for our willingness to listen and repeat lies without taking the time to discover if they are true just as we have been shown what will become of those who stand aside and do nothing in the face of dishonesty and destructive words.
- Your heard that lie, you knew it to be a lie, and you did nothing. You let those words tear down a person you know, a person who called you a friend. You listened to the liar but turned a deaf ear to those who welcomed you into their home. You said nothing to the liar when he bombastically proclaimed ridiculous things to the crowd. You chose to give no reaction as he waved his “proof” in the air. You listened to him, and even if you didn’t repeat him, you supported him in your non-action.
- You who repeated it, though…. You who chose to believe something so unbelievable and accepted your role as a co-conspirator to spread the lies. You helped her repeat it again and again until it became a truth in your mind, until you could live with what you had done and not done. She said such hurtful, ugly, and downright unbelievable things, but you were so mad you embraced the lies. It was a conscious choice to believe the worst of things.
By Your Words You Will Be Acquitted
Choose truth. Choose justice. Choose the righteous path and you will be acquitted. Standing with the liars, or not standing against them, is how you will find yourself condemned.
Find those you’ve hurt and apologize. Respond to those speaking untruths with the truth. Whatever your reason for being a co-conspirator, end it now.
I, too, need to end the cycle. I don’t want to carry the anger any more than I want to be subjected to the pain. I do want to forgive and release the ill will. I get so tired of the destructive nature of lies worming its way through daily life.
I will read this verse time and again to remind myself that my words do matter; whether I keep them as bottled up thoughts or share my angst, God is listening and I am being affected by my words as well as the lies told by others.
A Good Man Brings Good Things
It is never “just talk”; if it can hurt someone, do not say it. If it doesn’t help anyone, if it doesn’t teach anyone, if it doesn’t solve anything, do not say it.
Words can be weapons or they can be tools used to build.
If you say it, make sure it is building something beautiful.