“…All men are liars.”
This statement was made by King David, of the nation of Israel, thousands of years ago. Have you ever felt that way? There are times when it just seems like you can’t trust anyone. Why do people lie? We know that lying ultimately leads to heartache and destruction, and yet people continue to do so. Lying has become so prevalent in the public square, that it is now almost a joke. We now assume that when a public official opens their mouth, that they are lying.
Relationships are built on trust. Trust is undermined by deceit. We know this, and yet we still lie. Why do people lie? Well, here are some thoughts on the subject that may shed some light on the reasons people choose a lie over the truth.
We Lie to Avoid Facing the Truth
Sometimes the truth is viewed as more painful than the consequences of the lie. Not only that, but a lie postpones the consequences, while the truth requires an immediate response. When someone has an inability or unwillingness to face the consequences of their actions, they may feel that the only course left is the dishonest one.
The sad fact is, that often the consequences of telling the truth are not as bad as we fear them to be. Even if they are, the internal peace that comes from telling the truth is worth far more than the external peace offered by the lie.
I know a man who lied for years about having an affair. Though his wife believed him, he was miserable on the inside. His lie was eating him alive. Finally he told the truth. His marriage has been on rocky ground ever since, but he recently told me that the internal peace he received by telling the truth has been liberating. Though it has caused a strain on his relationship, at least he is not hiding from the truth, and he is now working on rebuilding his life on a solid foundation.
We Lie Because We Lack Self Respect
No one who respects themselves will desire to lie. To lie to others, we must first lie to ourselves. You can be reasonably sure that when a person lies to you, they don’t have much respect for themselves. They may think a lot of themselves, but that is not the same thing as respect. They have not considered the long-term effect of their lies. They deceived themselves into thinking that they are justified in their deceit and that people won’t find out.
I feel sorry for someone who has the reputation of being a liar. They simply cannot enjoy a real relationship. Everything they have is based on mistrust and deceit. They are not to be admired, or hated. They are to be pitied.
We Lie Because We Do Not Value the Other Person
When someone lies to you, they are showing their lack of respect for you, and how little they care about your feelings. Regardless of what they claim, they don’t love you. If they loved you, they wouldn’t lie to you. Love and respect also means trust. If they truly value you, they will tell you the truth, regardless of the consequences.
We Lie Because We Can
Sometimes we allow others to develop and continue the habit of lying. If someone in your life is having trouble telling the truth, don’t enable him or her. Call them out on their lies. Face them with the consequences of deceit. Overlooking or excusing someone’s lies is as damaging to a relationship as telling the lies themselves. As a moral human being, I demand truth of myself first, and then expect it from others.
What do you think? Has someone lied to you recently, or in the past? How have those lies impacted your relationships? Are you currently lying to someone in your life? How do you justify your actions? I would love to hear what you have to say on this subject. If you have some feedback on what I have said here, or if there is another reason you can add for why people lie, then please leave a comment and let us know. Your honest feedback is important.