How does a person get to a place where he or she is willing to throw away a human life so callously? I think it starts when we justify our bad behavior instead of repenting for it. And one of the worst behaviors we can justify is lying. Lying is bad. Whenever we tell a lie, an internal battle begins. That battle is resolved in one of two ways. Either the lie is exposed and faced or it’s explained away. While the latter is more appealing, it comes with deep, longer lasting consequences, such as weakened moral strength and a seared conscience. We need to think about the ways we justify lying so we can choose a better direction. Here are 3 ways people justify lying.
1. We tell ourselves we’ll never do it again.
“It’s just this once.” Rather than being truthful and dealing with the consequences, we make a deal with ourselves that we’ll let this one infraction go and never do it again. So we get away with it, or so we think, but it becomes easier to repeat the same behavior. So we end up lying again and make another deal.
The Problem: It’ll catch up with us at some point. I don’t write this to scare anyone, but an important thought for our decision-making is something Jesus said in Luke 8:17—”For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Being honest and confronting things in the open is the best way to change.
2. We minimize the damage in our minds.
One of the ways to satisfy our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves that it’s not that big of a deal. Thoughts like “what people don’t know won’t hurt them” or “everyone does it” are ways to soothe the heaviness inside. And if the lie is found out and people are hurt, we tell ourselves it’s small and that they should get over it.
The Problem: Lying is bad because it decreases our empathy and connection with others. Even if they don’t find out, we know, and even that creates distance. Once trust is broken, it takes a long time to rebuild, and sometimes the relationship never fully recovers.
3. We convince ourselves it’s for a good cause.
If the end results are perceived as good, then we wonder how bad the actions could have been that led to it. But it is bad. It may feel good in the short term or take care of some immediate problems, but chances are, it’s going to lead to deeper, long-term issues.
The Problem: We don’t see the negative things that are taking place below the surface. Lying will weaken our integrity, character, and moral framework. Our decision-making process gets more and more murky.