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Lies and Lying

“Among the weakest things in the world of social relations is the truth. That might seem to be an odd statement. However, the weakness of the truth is the limitations placed upon it by its very nature. It cannot say just anything, nor can it ever pretend to be something that it is not. Those restrictions are not shared by lies. It is the nature of a lie that it can assume any shape required by the objects of its suasion. “Whatever it takes” would be an excellent description of the nature of a lie. America spends roughly $250 billion per year on advertising. The bulk of that effort is not directed towards sharing accurate information – it is the creation of desire. Truth is rarely a controlling factor.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“We are exchanging truth for a lie. There are those in the world today who will even point to Holy Scripture claiming that if we work hard, we will become wealthy in funds consistent with the teachings of God. Moreover, we deceive ourselves when we say that we should gain and maintain wealth so that we may perform good Christian works. More often this results in the hoarding of our wealth rather than in the sharing of it. Thus, we end up cloaking our materialism by using excuses for it.” (Chris Andreas)

“The liar…lies because lies are so much easier to shape and control then the truth which emerges from reality and is experienced by everyone. We see the same thing these days in politicians and political commentators. It suits them far more to tell lies which they can shape into anything they want rather than to tell the truth. With lies they also can deny what they said meant what we think it means since they give it any meaning they want. It is still lying and evil. It makes truth a rare commodity in our political discourse.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Most of us have a great talent for convincing ourselves of complete nonsense when that helps to distract us from facing uncomfortable truths that we would rather ignore. Instead of seeing ourselves, other people, and the daily challenges of life with clarity, our vision is often obscured by our own passions. We then become blind to reality in ways that block us from living faithfully before God.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“There are so many others we have been blessed to know, even if their depths of faith and expressions of self-giving love leave me feeling empty and spiritually bankrupt. What has become clear over the years is that people like this exist virtually everywhere. We simply need to look for them and pray God that He will enable us to discover them…it is special people of the kind I’ve mentioned who convey to us the real truth, both about God and about ourselves. In their simplicity and depth, their inner silence and eloquent wisdom, they make Christ present to us. Most of them have made their own journey out of darkness and into light. Like Adam and Eve, and other Old Testament saints in the paschal icon of the Descent into Hell, they have reached out and been grasped by the hand of Christ, then lifted by Him from the realm of death into the glory of His resurrected life.” (Fr. John Breck)

“Jesus says the devil is the father of lies and when he lies, the devil is speaking according to his nature. No wonder lying and deceit were thought of as being evil… We distort God’s gift of speech whenever we use words to lie, cheat, and deceive…Lie with words, and you can lie about anything, anyone, anywhere; you can rewrite facts past, present and future. Human speech allows deception to transcend space and time…To tell a lie is to create one’s own reality... To tell the truth means accepting real reality.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, Dynamis 7/25/2014, Fr. Meletios Webber, Aja Raden)

“The modern world has turned its attention to language. Mass communication has raised the power of the lie to new levels. Marxist theory (which holds a treasured position in many corners of our culture, particularly in academia) insists on the re-working of language as a tool for social change (and control). In this model, culture itself becomes a lie and a tool of the lie. Advertising and propaganda have long used language in this distorted manner…A lie seeks to make true something that has no true existence. It is an “alternate,” make-believe, universe to the one in which we live. Our desire for alternatives (and our fear of reality) are among the many motivations behind lies. It is revealing, however, to think about the nature of lies (which also reveals the nature of the truth). It is, at the very least, a matter of existence.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The messages which assault us through the channels, airwaves, and electronic media of contemporary life appear to be human speech, but in reality they are demonic chatter and lies. When we consider the distortion of truth that passes as communication in the modern world, we understand that we are experiencing a constant assault on our hearts and souls. In the last few decades, the plain meaning of words has often been turned inside out. Barbarous lies are set forth as truth.” (Dynamis 10/20/2020)

“Proverbs 6:16-19 in the Hebrew Bible tells us that the Lord hates six things, and seven are an abomination to Him – “A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren”… The list refers to pride, arrogance, haughtiness, lying, murder, evil inclinations and causing dissention – all of which reveal a heart that is not of God…The word abomination is from the Hebrew word “ṯō.w·‘ă·ḇaṯ” which is noun that means a disgusting thing of when use in the context of ethics means wickedness. “Luke 15:16 reads, “And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Here the Greek word translated as abomination is “Bdelygmia, which can mean nastiness or filth. We need to take very seriously any behavior of ours and others, including lying, that is an abomination before God.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“If we are going to use truth only as a club to beat others and to maintain rigid barriers, then we will not be using it for peace with others. We are not to use the truth to devise evil against others nor to cover up other lies we tell. We are not to use the truth to justify our sins, self-centeredness, or to advance our own positions. Truth is to establish the Lordship of God and to enable us to continue to serve the Lord. It is not meant to make enemies of others, to suppress or oppress others, to justify our own misdeeds. Truth has everything to do with God who is love and God’s way which is love.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Truth is essential for the people of God in every aspect of life: religious, personal, social, judicial, and political.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Zechariah 8:16-17)

“We understand in Christianity that the Father is the unbegotten fountainhead of the Holy Trinity. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father. The word fountainhead means, “an original source of something.” The Father is the original source of deity, of truth, of everything, When Christ says the devil is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44), He is saying he is the original source of lies, the first liar, the first sinner, the very source of lies and sin. When Christ says, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,” He is saying the devil is reflecting his way of being. When we live or tell lies this is who we are in spiritual union with.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“When God created the heavens and the earth, and all the things that are in them, He gave them being, existence, goodness, and truth. There was not a single false thing that was created – only true. Indeed the Fathers write about three things that are somewhat interchangeable: Goodness, Beauty, Truth. This sense of the connection between the words we speak and the goodness, beauty and truth of the world find a connection in the simple injunction: “Do not lie.” We generally think of lying as being sinful because it has the potential to cause harm. And we thus describe certain lies as “harmless.” But there is a deeper problem with lying: it attempts to create what does not exist, or, rather, to uncreate what does. It becomes the enemy of Goodness, Beauty and Truth. We should take to heart the fact that our adversary is named the “father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“When it comes to lying, deceiving, and twisting the truth, the devil is truly in a class all his own. He’s a liar by nature, and his entire motivation—his reason for being—is to lie and deceive.” (Tony Evans)

“Are you in a dilemma, wondering if you should tell the truth or not? The question to ask in such moments is, Will God bless my deceit? Will he, who hates lies, bless a strategy built on lies? Will the Lord, who loves the truth, bless the business of falsehoods?” (Max Lucado)

“Lying pervades our lives. I often think we are so engaged with lying that we fail to notice. The lying begins within our own hearts. What we experience as “complexity,” particularly complexity within the soul, is often little more than a refusal to face the truth and endure its consequences. We prefer a life in which unpleasant consequences are minimized. Lying is ideal for such a life.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Once falseness takes hold in a community or nation, it seems to pervade every area of life.” (Foundation Study Bible, Jeremiah 9:3)

“Gradually, the idea that mankind has the capacity to discern its own truth gradually regained ascendancy. Today, we are once again living in a world where the ancient lie rules. Scientific materialism and secular humanism openly attack the truth which Christ and His apostles taught…Saint Paul’s words (Acts 17:22-32) undercut the Athenians’ basic assumption that the ultimate truth about life can be found by men through reason, using trial and error. We recall that in the Garden of Eden the serpent suggests this very approach, promising Adam and Eve “you will be like gods” (Gn 3:5).” (Dynamis 5/15/2018)

“The Scriptures advise: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, / And lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). This admonition takes us back to the Genesis account where Adam and Eve fell prey to their own reasoning. Genesis says that Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” (Gen. 3:6). They both gave into the temptation of questioning God’s love and provision for them. Ultimately they believed God was withholding something from them that they could attain on their own. Instead of finding wisdom, they discovered the shame and bondage of their own understanding.” (Kevin Scherer)

“The author of the Book of Proverbs lists seven things God hates: “A proud look, / A lying tongue, / Hands that shed innocent blood, / A heart that devises wicked plans, / Feet that are swift in running to evil, / A false witness who speaks lies, / And one who sows discord among brethren” (6:17–19). Pride is given first place. “Pride goes before destruction, / And a haughty spirit before a fall” is another insight in the Book of Proverbs (16:18). In the Garden of Eden, Satan seeks to animate pride in his dialogue with Eve. Eat the forbidden fruit, he tells her, and “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).” (Jim Forest)

“Satan used a sincere motive to tempt Eve, telling her that she would be like God if she ate the fruit. It wasn’t wrong of Eve to want to be like God. To become more like God is humanity’s highest goal. It is what we are supposed to do. But Satan misled Eve concerning the right way to accomplish this become like God is not the same as trying to become God." (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 3:5)

“Give the light of understanding to the eyes of my heart... Grant me compunction and contrition of heart, humility in my thoughts, and a release from the slavery of my own reasonings.” (A Prayer to the Theotokos)

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