By Lydia Teh
“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” is a taunt kids like to use when someone is busted for a lie.
We teach our children not to tell lies. The story of the boy who cried wolf is a favourite story used to impart that moral. The ending is bad indeed for that boy: his sheep were gobbled up by the big bad wolf.
In the bible, we have the famous example of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10). They sold their possession but kept back part of their proceeds for themselves. There is nothing wrong about this in itself. Their sin was that they lied about donating all of their proceeds. The consequence was tragic: they were struck dead by God.
What about other types of lies such as the lie of omission? In the movie adaptation of the book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund did not tell his siblings about his encounter with the White Witch because he was so tempted by the promise of Turkish Delight. Suffice to say his betrayal of his siblings did not bode well for him because the White Witch later turned her murderous eyes on him. Luckily for Edmund, he was rescued by Aslan.
An Old Testament couple, coincidentally they have the same initials as Ananias and Sapphira, shows us that lies of omission or and half-lies are abhorred by God.
Abraham’s wife, Sarah was a beautiful woman. She was so gorgeous that Abraham was afraid that other men would want her. He was right. She was coveted by Pharoah (Gen. 12:10-20) and later by Abimelek (Gen. 20).
Abraham feared that he would be killed by men who coveted his wife. So he asked Sarah to say that she is his sister. This is a half-lie as they were born of the same father but different mothers. (Gen. 20:12)
But God was not pleased with their half-lie. He inflicted serious diseases in Pharaohs’ household (Gen. 12:17) and closed the wombs of the women in Abimelek’s household (Gen. 20:17). Half-lies or half-truths are still lies as far as He is concerned.
Are our pants on fire?