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“Those who are given to white lies soon become color blind.”

—Source unknown

If your nose grew every time you told a lie, would you stop telling lies? Pinocchio was a wooden marionette who was given the opportunity to be transformed into a real boy on one condition—he had to listen to and follow his conscience. Every time he told a lie, his nose would grow. 

Pinocchio struggles with his conscience. Time after time he is pressured to make a decision—tell a lie or be embarrassed—tell a lie or miss out on some fun. Each time, telling a lie seems like a better choice than telling the truth. Over time he deadens his conscience by repeatedly telling lies. Every time he tells a lie, however, his nose grows! Before he knows it, his nose grows to more than a foot long—he despairs that he will never be a real boy.

Maybe you, too, struggle deeply with a habit of lying. You have a sales quota to reach—the only way to close that deal is to make a promise you will never be able to keep. You have a deadline to meet and your reputation is at stake—you claim something is done when it is still on the drawing board. You have loved ones who would be hurt by the truth—you tell a lie to protect them. Like Pinocchio, you tell a lie because it is easy and seems like the best way out. In the end, however, your lies compromise your character and God-given identity. You cannot lie continually and expect to enjoy a life of faith in obedience to God’s will.

“Surely you [God] desire[s] truth in the inner parts.” 

Psalm 51:6


Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Psalm 141:3


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What Is a Lie? 

A lie is a deliberate untrue statement told with the intent to deceive. The word translated as “lie” is the Greek word pseudos, which means “falsehood or lie.”

“Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.” 

Psalm 58:3


What Is a White Lie?

A white lie is an untrue statement that appears harmless and unimportant.A white lie is a lie in which the person saying it feels justified in not being truthful.

“With his [Ananias’] wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself.” 

(Acts 5:2) (Read Acts 5:1–5)


What Is a Half-Truth? 

A half-truth is a statement or act that is only partially true with the deliberate intent to deceive.A half-truth is a cunning method of deception with just enough truth to be convincing.

“[Abram said] Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” 

Genesis 12:13


What Is Perjury?

Perjury is false testimony given under oath.Perjury is a serious crime, resulting in punishment.

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.” 

Proverbs 19:5

12 Common Causes for Lying 

  • To save face (Psalm 34:13) 
  • To make us seem more interesting (Proverbs 8:8) 
  • To shift blame (Genesis 3:12–13) 
  • To control a response (Proverbs 11:3) 
  • To give a false impression (Hebrews 13:18) 
  • To avoid confrontation (Psalm 12:2) 
  • To cover up mistakes (Psalm 32:2) 
  • To replace pain temporarily (1 Corinthians 3:18) 
  • To escape accountability (Galatians 6:4–5) 
  • To create a fantasy (Colossians 2:18) 
  • To avoid punishment (Amos 5:10) 
  • To exploit others (2 Peter 2:3) 

Steps to Self-Control 

  • Start with a commitment to truth, admitting that God wants you to change. (Deuteronomy 32:4) 
  • Separate from your sin of lying, writing out what it’s costing you. (Romans 6:1–2) 
  • Set a new goal, picturing yourself telling the truth. (2 Corinthians 5:9–10) 
  • Stand on the truth, setting a time to begin. (Romans 6:6) 
  • Substitute God’s thoughts for your thoughts, identifying your weak points. (Romans 12:1–2) 
  • Surrender your will to God and seek out an accountability partner. (Romans 6:19) 
  • Stay on track, practicing your new commitment to tell the truth. (Romans 5:1–2) 


“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

(Galatians 5:22–23) 


Deliverance from Deceit 

  • Discover God’s consequences for lying and His hatred for deceit. (Psalm 5:6) 
  • Demand complete honesty with myself and examine my motives. (Psalm 51:10) 
  • Determine to be totally honest with God and admit my failures. (1 John 1:8) 
  • Discern my areas of personal temptation. Stop and think before I answer. (Proverbs 21:23) 


How to Tell the Truth When It’s Tough! 

  • Know that you cannot please everyone. (Galatians 1:10) 
  • Know that you are not responsible for everyone’s feelings (Proverbs 9:7–9) 
  • Know that you can speak the truth in a loving way. (Ephesians 4:15) 
  • Know that you are not a perfect person—no one is perfect. (Isaiah 53:6) 
  • Know that you are not accountable for how others respond to the truth. (Romans 14:12) 


Key Verse to Learn 

“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

 (Psalm 141:3)


Key Passage to Read 

Proverbs 6:16–19




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