“It is best I don’t tell him,” I though to myself as we were driving in the car together a few months back. We have mended our hearts, rebuilt trust, and are standing firm in our marriage. Going back could be painful. Going back could hurt Ben again and I do not want to hurt him. We are through that part of our life, so I do not need to tell him. So I won’t, it’s fine.
The long drive ahead brought silence. I looked and saw how peaceful Ben was behind the wheel. He didn’t feel the need to talk and was enjoying the scenery. I wanted that peace too. Yet, here I was reeling about our past. I had never told him before that I had lusted after another as well.
It was time to tell him, I could not wait any longer.
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Now, It Was My Turn
I got his attention and began letting him know he was not the only one who had been tempted outside our marriage. There was a time when Ben and I both worked for the same employer. We carpooled together each day even though it was about the only thing we did together. We put on the happy couple masks we were accustomed to wearing and spent the day doing our work and exerting much effort in not having a fight while at work. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. We became really close with our teammates. Too close, from my perspective. Nothing inappropriate happened, I made sure of that. However, Ben had no idea that I was interested in someone else at that time.
As he drove, he took it all in and only asked a few questions. I expected him to be so upset and hurt; yet, his response was that he was happy that I told him. He remained calm and at peace! I couldn’t believe it! I was broken up and devastated to drop this huge bomb on him, knowing how upset he would be. And yet, that was not his response at all! I asked him for forgiveness both for being tempted and withdrawing from our marriage toward someone else. I also apologized for not telling him sooner. He forgave me and we continued enjoying our road trip. It was a huge sigh of relief.
Why We Lie
For me, lies come in the form of omission. If I just don’t say anything, everything will be OK.
Other reasons we lie:
The truth will hurt my spouse
There is nothing my spouse can do to help so there is no reason to mention it. Ever.
My spouse will think less of me as a person
My spouse may love me less
My spouse needs me to protect her
The peace in our home will be disrupted for she will freak out!
My spouse will leave me
My truth is too painful to share
The consequences are too great and many to face
To get a certain response or reaction
How easy is it to lie, though, really?
It may cover you for a moment but it can weigh on you for a lifetime.
What Lies Are
The truth is not really the truth, it is too horrible (we have convinced ourselves we could not have possibly done the thing we did).
If they knew the truth, I would be in huge trouble (so much on the line to lose-the relationship, job, money, friends…)
What they don’t know, won’t hurt them (except that they will find out, just not from us, which makes the scenario so much worse!)
Telling a hurtful truth in a lighthearted manner with hopes of not hurting (spoiler alert: after the laughing fades, pain remains).
White lies or little untruths:
I do not want to hurt them so I will tell them what I believe they want to hear
Manipulation: say whatever I need to say, so I can gain this in return.
The bible has so much to say about lying and the damage it does.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Background: In the area in and surrounding present day Jerusalem, King David’s son Solomon is King. The year is sometime between 971-931 BC (just under 1000 years before Jesus was born). Solomon reigned during a fairly peaceful time and had been spared from fighting in war, himself. One evening, in a dream, God came to him and asked him what he wanted. Solomon was a young king at the time. Instead of asking for riches or glory, he asked God for wisdom. As a result of his request, God granted him wisdom and a discerning mind AND blessed him with riches and honor on top of it! Solomon’s heart was in the right place as his request was unselfish (1 Kings 3:1-15). It was in Solomon’s God given wisdom (Proverbs), we find our focus.
Proverbs 12 mentions lips, words, mouth, tongues 12 times in only 28 verses. What we say and choose not to say is a big deal!
Tell the Truth
This verse is encouraging us to tell the truth because the truth is the truth. It will stand the test of time, it will withstand in the court of law, and will help build an enduring character.
God wants us to tell the truth. It is important enough that he included in the 10 Commandments. So not only does he want us to tell the truth, he commands us to. To lie, to share an untruth, to cover the truth, to deceive, or anything that is not 100% true is a lie.
Lying is a Small Act, Big Sin
A respected counseling teacher told us that the act of lying is not anything big or grand. It does not take a huge amount of courage to muster up a lie. It does not take a lot of forethought nor does it take much energy. However, although the act of lying is not great, it is still a great sin. Anything we do that goes against what God has commanded us not to do, is sin.
Lies Cause Delayed Pain
Why is lying a sin? I believe lying is a sin because it causes pain, steals joy, and disrupts peace. When the person being lied to finds out, it hurts them so bad. Think about it.
How did you feel when you found out someone you love or care deeply for lied to you? I’m guessing, not great, right?
It causes them to question our character.
It causes them to question everything we have said or done in the past.
It shows a lack of love and respect for the other person.
For me, I would rather be hurt by the truth, than be hurt by the truth later on, and hurt by the person who lied. The latter is way more painful.
It Isn’t Lying if I Don’t Get Caught
Perhaps you are thinking: But what if I know I will get away with it? Or perhaps you already have.
First, God hates lies Proverbs 12:22a Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.
Second, lies will be brought to light, maybe not now but eventually. Luke 8:17 “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
There are a few things we can do to begin fighting the urge and overcoming the devastation lies cause in marriage:
1. Think about your response before you lie
Tell the person you will think about it and take the time you need to respond. Take a minute and counter what your instinctual response is. Then ask yourself if it is true. If it is not, ask yourself what the truth is. When you establish what the truth is, share that.
2. Recall that the truth will come out eventually
Remind yourself the truth will come out eventually, no matter how hard you try to conceal it. That is the very nature of lies, they grow and will always be brought out into the light despite our attempts.
3. Save the energy a lie takes
Lying takes a lot of energy and effort. Trying to remember all the details of the lie, for one, is a huge challenge. Plus, the more time that passes the more difficult it is to recall the lie. It becomes a burden and gets really heavy after time.
4. Include your spouse
Tell your spouse of your temptation to lie. Discuss the temptation and how they can help you be strong. If your spouse is one that blows up and melts down in reaction to you, during a peaceful time, let them know it is difficult to be completely honest with them based on how they have reacted in the past. Your spouse wants you to be honest and may be hurt at this truth up front, but, with some encouragement from you, they can begin to wrangle in their responses to hear your truth.
Hope for the Truth
The truth is, we are not left on our own, God gives us the strength by the power of His Spirit to tell the truth. Pray for strength and receive God’s gift of grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you.
We have hope for mercy. Just as Ben extended mercy to me so can mercy be extended to you.
These steps have helped us build a lie barrier around our marriage. Begin today with this guide to help you and your spouse overcome the lies and speak truth.
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How easy is it for you to offer mercy to those who have lied to you?
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