It truly is amazing to realize just how easy it is for us to lie to ourselves in order to excuse our sin. How many people have convinced themselves that God legitimately allows them to seek divorce simply because they feel no love for their spouses? Or, how often do we tell ourselves that we are speaking the truth in love when all we want to do is shamelessly berate another person or spread gossip?
Another reason people bend the truth is to escape unjust suffering. Exhibit A in this case is the apostle Peter, who denied following Jesus to avoid the pain he might face from the authorities (Mark 14:66–72). Others have denied Christ by remaining silent while His name or the character of believers has been maligned, giving the impression that they have never had any interest in the Savior.
Jesus, as Peter tells us in today’s passage, is guilty of neither of these ways of twisting the truth. He never lied to Himself to find a “good reason” for His misdeeds because He never sinned at all. Facing corrupt authorities who wanted to inflict suffering on Him even though He was innocent, Jesus never lied to get out of it and accepted His vocation as the Suffering Servant (1 Peter 2:22–25). Christ also never lied just for the sheer “enjoyment” of doing so. He is the ultimate fulfillment of the ninth commandment because He alone lived a life reflecting the final goal that law was intended to foster — a pure heart that loves nothing but the truth.
Under the heavy pressure of temptation and the potential for suffering for Christ’s sake, we often want to lie to ourselves or others so that we can indulge the flesh and not be subject to any real consequences for following Jesus. Yet God calls us to truth — to be honest with ourselves about sin, laying it aside, and to acknowledge before all who can hear that we are disciples of the Lord and will not put our submission to His authority behind any other allegiance the world offers (Luke 12:8–12; Heb. 12:1–2; 1 Peter 4:1–6).
Each day we face a choice: Either we can lie to ourselves or others, justifying sins of all kinds, including falsehood, and denying the Master who bought us. Or we can tell the truth, confronting sin and following Christ with boldness. What choice will we make this day?
Of all the lies we might tell, the most dangerous are probably those lies we tell ourselves to make us believe we are not really sinning. Given our susceptibility to falling into sin, we must be extra careful to examine thoroughly the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Let us think carefully about what we do and why we do it, so that we may not be liars to ourselves or others.