DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: ‘Lies have short legs’
Living your convictions has its challenges, but living a lie creates even greater difficulties.
“So then putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. … Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us.” (Ephesians 4:25, 31; 5:1).
The Germans have a proverb: “Lies have short legs.” When life becomes a maze of either people-pleasing or self-pleasing, the legs needed to carry that load are always too short.
Lies beget lies, and soon the story becomes so absurd that the child or adult trying to get away with it is trapped. Like chess, when there are no more moves, it is checkmate. Simply telling the truth is so much easier.
Tyndale’s New Testament Commentary on Ephesians tells us: “Christians break the bonds of love and fellowship, which they have come to be bound, when they try to deceive one another.” As a parent, the misconduct committed by their child is almost always less hurtful when confessed. Losing trust because of lying is the greater anguish.
Chrysostom, a church father, wrote: “If the eye sees a serpent, does it deceive the foot? If the tongue tastes what is bitter, does it deceive the stomach?”
When believers are open and perfectly truthful one with another, the body works in harmony and therefore efficiently. We are invited by the Apostle Paul to trade the inefficient life of deception for the joy that honesty gives.
Whether it be our business, our marriage, our parenting, our children, our church, our government, our neighbor, our brother or sister, the face that stares back at us when we look into a mirror is the one we must live with.
E. Stanley Jones says correctly that “life cannot stand upon the insecurity of a lie.” As followers of Jesus, let us live with integrity wherever that takes us. Let us be kind and mean it. Let us be tenderhearted because we want to. Let us forgive ourselves, as well as others, everything.
Lies do have short legs, but thanks be to God, living the truth stretches us all the way to eternity. I pray to live my convictions with conviction, and for the sake of the common good, I invite you to do the same.
Rev. Steve Norby serves as lead pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Park Rapids.