Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor-Exodus 20:16
Men lie for various good causes. In fact, men seldom lie for bad ones. The bad causes take care of themselves. A man may lie for a good cause and keep his conscience.
Men lie out of self-interest.
The fellow who preceded me as Interim Pastor of the place I now serve became worried about his own future, I think, when he heard I might be called as pastor. He made his living as in interim, had no other place to go at the time and needed to do what he might to prolong his service. He acted in his own better interests, which often makes for torturous logic but can finally be explained by the simplest reason for lying; he needed to do it to take care of himself.
He shared many "concerns" with the search team. They grew weary of his attacks. Once fearful, now frantic, he took his "concerns" to church members. Cloaked in the kind of spiritual "wariness" that marks the mendacious incompetent, he offered contradictory explanations of his worries from person to person. Naturally he overstepped himself and people saw through him.
Finally, a leader took him aside and told him, not uncertainly, to stop his gossip. The craven cave when the light hits them.
Let me not leave this unsaid. When considering even a temporary shepherd, one must consider the worth of the man before we regard the path. An unkind man will take you to a hurtful place. A greedy man will shear the lambs for his own good. A liar will operate in his own best interests to the detriment of the whole. Evil is evil even if it is only part time.
Men lie to make themselves larger in story than they are in life.
The falsified resume is the logical end of the story of "how it might have been." The falsifier counts on the carelessness of his fellows. He hopes no one will check what he says.
Darkness needs an absence of light to be darkness.
The end of the falsifier is the "follow up question."
Men lie to defend their motives.
Perhaps "defend" is the wrong word. "Obscure" might be more appropriate.
Men lie to obscure their motives. They might wish to play to a certain crowd. The fellow I have already mentioned in this post, my immediate predecessor, albeit temporary, noted my criticisms of certain denominational practices. He adroitly maneuvered himself between me and the denomination, with himself as the hero of the piece. Soon he was not working part time for the denomination any longer but was full-time!
The fellow who lies to obscure his ends remembers his scandals as triumphs. He lies first to others and only after to himself. No matter, a liar is still a liar. He erodes the position of all who embrace him.
A man lies to gain allies when he is too weak to stand on his own. He lacks that inner moral compass that would tell him it is better to be alone than to be bad company.
Jonathan, whom we have mentioned as the most remarkable man of his time, ill-fated and unlucky, was unacceptable as leader to both the men he served, Saul and David. Jonathan, while never allowed to lead more than an army of one, proved worthwhile as a mediator between the two warring factions because he was both honest and kind.
Mendicant or mediator? Jonathan kept one man from murder and another from death. He did so by earnest pleading. Saul and David are historical examples of what happens when mendicants come to position. The innocent suffer and the many are more poorly led than they might want. The nation suffered as soon as Jonathan died, just as the masses suffer when the decent, the honest, the noble and the admirable are pushed aside, their bodies broken and their places taken by the salary seeker.
Men may lie because they are weak and lying is how weakness reacts to strength.
The thief steals for the thrill of gaining something of worth without the strain of toil. The liar lies in the face of strength for the sake of appearing strong without the exertion of character building. A thief works better in the dark or when valuables are left unguarded. A liar works best when unexamined.
In the end a thief is still a thief and a liar is a liar. The people who promote and protect them lie down with dogs. They get up with fleas.