We’re continuing to look at the seven things in our passage that God sees as an abomination. God is a tender, compassionate God who is rich in mercy and grace, but He is also a God of justice—One who hates and abhors sin in every form. Preachers often fail to remind people that while our God is essentially a God of love, He also has the capacity to hate wield His vengeance (Rom 12:19).
In Proverbs 6:16-19 the passage clearly declares that God hates haughty eyes (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. Today, we’re looking at the second thing written here that is an abomination to our Lord.
2. God Hates a Lying Tongue
A “lie” is a statement that is distorted and untrue. It is a falsehood that causes an incorrect impression. A lie is any word or action that is intended to mislead, or to deceive another. For those who believe that a lying tongue is okay if it avoid hurting someone’s feelings, I encourage you to read: What does the Bible say about white lies?
The Bible says that God hates every form of lying, and in fact God’s Word declares that no liar shall have any part in the kingdom of heaven (Rev 21:8). A lying tongue is contrary to everything that is precious to God. Our God is a lover of truth (Num 23:19), and He loathes any activity that is contrary to the absolute truth.
There are many forms of lying, but the most common evidence of a lying tongue among some of God’s people is the activity of slander. Slander is the uttering of malicious charges which damage the reputation of others. Slander is usually done by twisting another’s words, by misquoting the statements of others, by repeating a story that reflects on the character of others, or by jumping to a quick conclusion about another person without knowing or carefully checking the facts. God’s view of slander is found in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex 20:16)
Slander is malicious lying, and God hates lying. Slander is often the result of gossip. Both slander and gossip are wrong, and Scripture often condemns them together (Lev 19:16; Prov 16:27), but slander takes gossip to a whole new level. Gossip collects someone’s secrets and passes them to others; slander makes up its own secrets and broadcasts them wherever they will do the most harm.
Did you ever play the game “gossip” when you were young? The outcome is always the same. Gossip is indulging in needless chatter about other people. Those who engage in idle chatter about the affairs of other people, share the information with others, and they in turn tell still others—and the final tale (after is passes through several heads) usually contains more falsehood than truth. And so the gossiper can easily become a party to passing on lies. “Avoid irreverent and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness” (2 Tim 2:16).
The Scriptures command a meek and quiet spirit. All of us need to resolve to live more quietly. “The one who has knowledge restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a person of understanding. (Prov 17:27). One little proverbial saying expresses the truth this way: It is easier to learn to speak in several languages, than it is to be quiet in one. One of the most subtle ways for good well-meaning people to get caught up with lying, is to engage in passing along malicious reports about others—reports which are unkind and are frequently untrue.
God’s solution for slander is to love each other (John 13:34). We don’t slander people whom we love (1 Cor 13:4–7). Love wants the best for others, and that means guarding their reputations as we do our own (Matt 7:12). “Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom 13:10) When we focus on obeying the Lord by loving as He loves us, slander will not tempt us.
Those of us who have come to the Lord by faith are new creatures, so this Scripture is especially for belivers: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices” (Col 3:9) Lying is listed as something practiced by the lawless (1 Tim 1:9-11). In contrast, God never lies (Titus 1:2). He is the source of truth. “It is impossible for God to lie” (Heb 6:18). Jesus called Himself the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and He expects those who follow Him to be people of truth. The truth is to be expressed in love (Eph 4:15), offering hope to those seeking redemption from the lies of the world.