Tag Archives: lying

What Is A Lie? — Post by Michael J Findley

boy swinging on frame
For all of those friends of mine who post on facebook that someone is a liar, we must understand that there are 3 requirements for a statement to be a lie.

First and most obvious, the statement must be incorrect.

Second, the person making the statement must be aware that the statement is incorrect. This too seems obvious.

Third and the most difficult to detect, there must be an intent to deceive.

Suppose that you are given, without your knowledge, a counterfeit $20 bill (or use your currency if you are not an American). Someone asks you if you have $20 and you respond in the affirmative.

1) You are incorrect.
2) You are not aware that you are incorrect.
3) You have no intent to deceive.
You are wrong, incorrect. But you are not a liar.

You are in bed and someone in another room asks you, “Are you in bed?” You immediately stand on the floor and respond, “No, I am not in bed.” This is a little more nuanced. Though your statement is technically correct, there is the issue of intent. If the questioner simply wanted to know if you were out of bed, you told the truth.
“Are you in bed?” often implies more. Are you getting dressed? When will you be down for breakfast? When will you be ready to leave for work/school/shopping? If you understand that the question means more than just “Are you in bed?” then your simply answer, “No, I am not in bed.” Is a lie. You basic information is correct, but you are aware of the intent of the question. You answered with the intent to deceive.

In everyday life these subtle nuances, and often not so subtle, are the rationalizations we give to ourselves in order to delude ourselves. We convince ourselves that we are technically correct, so everything is fine. Continuing to tell these lies of intent or lies of convenience makes understand right and wrong, truth and a lie increasingly difficult.

When we become skilled at shading the truth, we will unable to discern when others are lying to us. At this point, truth will no longer matter to us. We will only be concerned we self-gratification.

You will know the truth and the truth will make you free. John 8:32 NASB

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Heroes and Superheroes


Movies about heroes and superheroes abound. Recently we’ve had Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, new Superman and Batman series, X-Men, and numerous animated offerings like The Incredibles, Megamind, and the live action Avengers. Apparently there is (or was) a TV series about a family that gains superpowers, “No Ordinary Family.” There was a TV series called “Heroes,” about people who had some kind of mutation giving them strange powers. There are even heroes who aren’t super in terms of their internal powers (like Superman) or their “Wonderful Toys” (like Batman).

Sometimes heroes are spies like James Bond, sometimes men who seem ordinary but get thrown into circumstances where they must rise to heroic stature. People like the characters John Wayne or Harrison Ford or Bruce Willis play in movies are just do-or-die, never quit, slightly larger than life men who can’t give up until the bad guys are all gone, however bloodied and beaten this kind of hero ends up.
Rather than write a review about any or all of these particular movies, some of which I’ve seen and some I haven’t, I’d like to make some observations about what the heroes man creates tell us about man himself. First, none of these heroes or superheroes that I have seen or read about have any consciousness of God. It is scary how absent God is from any of these heroic endeavors. Even John Wayne, a real American Hero, performs his heroics largely without mention of God. Harrison Ford in
Witness makes a woman who falls in love with him choose between her religion and him. Our American heroes, super and otherwise, sadly can’t seem to coexist with God.

Not that they don’t need Him. Most of these heroes are very flawed creatures in spite of their “powers” or their plain old courage and resolve. They are alcoholics, they have destroyed their marriages or family relationships because their uniqueness, they must choose between a normal life and their duty. They put their loved ones or comrades in danger just by being what they are in many cases. They must lie to protect their secret identities or conceal secrets related to their work. Frequently they are reluctant to get involved, even start out as villains or drifters or criminals who typify the anti-hero so popular in American books and movies. If they are good men, they a villified as vigilantes and must fight the law and public opinion as well as the bad guys.

I think we as humans want heroes, but we are so far down the road of sinful thinking we can’t even imagine what they really ought to be like. Even if we go back to the Bible, we dredge up Samson, who may have been the model for most of the superheroes of ancient times and today. Self-willed, incapable of having normal relationships, getting his new bride handed off to another man and burned alive with her family, doing God’s will by coincidence rather than obedience, trapped more than once by his
uncontrolled lust and finally killed in a supreme act of selfish vengeance.

What about Joseph? There is no sin recorded in his life. People try to villify him as “Daddy’s Favorite,” coddled and petted, spouting dreams of dominance,  until his brothers’ jealousy understandably got the better of them. The truth is Joseph only told them what God told him. He didn’t conceal his identity as the chosen one God would use to save them all. They chose to hate him without cause. In Egypt Joseph behaved wisely, gained favor, and caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife, who had him thrown in prison when he wouldn’t sleep with her. In prison Joseph once again gained favor and his conduct shone out. His “superpower,” interpreting dreams, he freely attributed to God, not to his own knowledge or ability. And it got him a place as second in command of all Egypt, ready to save his family, even if it meant they had to bow down to him, just as he’d forseen. God did it all, and Joseph gave Him due credit.

Same with Daniel. He was hauled away from home as a teenager, just like Joseph, and served a foreign king in a foreign land all his life. Yet he was fearless in serving God, defying the order to eat the palace delicacies, the order to worship no god but the king, and openly attributing to God his “power” of dream interpretation. Daniel became the king’s advisor, secured positions for his three friends, attained power all the evil diviners in the kingdom couldn’t break. God did it all. We know that from beginning to end, even when Daniel goes headfirst into a cave full of lions.

Don’t care for these “perfect” heroes? How about Peter, the man who couldn’t stop his mouth from saying the most outrageous things, to the point of denying the Lord three times? Yet he became a powerful preacher, witness, a superpowered miracle worker. All because of God.  And he was a happily-married man. A man can have flaws, can be reluctant, can even go back to fishing, but God will make a hero out of him and get the glory.

Doubting Thomas, who couldn’t believe without seeing, remained an Apostle, got the same power all the Apostles got. John Mark, who deserted Paul, came back, and became “profitable [to Paul] for the ministry.” How about Paul the Persecutor? How many Christians were executed under his reign of terror as a Pharisee of the Pharisees? Some superheroes get their powers through catastrophic events. How about getting knocked off a horse and blinded by the glory of the Risen Christ? Paul got the power to persuade men and to heal their sicknesses and to suffer for God. Most especially, he got the power to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Can any of us say we did everything God expected of us, all the witnessing, teaching, faithful service, total obedience? If that isn’t a superpower, I don’t know what is.


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