Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lying and a Person's Inward Moral Character

~ Wayne Grudem
"Truthfulness and lying are often highly significant indicators of a person’s inward moral character. In fact, truthfulness in speech may be the most frequent test of our integrity each day. In ordinary life, people don’t often encounter opportunities to murder, commit adultery, steal, or break other civil laws without a high probability of being found out and suffering serious consequences. But people do have opportunities many times every day to tell a small lie (usually with little likelihood of being caught) or to speak truthfully. For example, the expressions “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” or “I thought you said . . . ” or “I forgot” can be outright lies but who can ever prove it? Small exaggerations of events or distortions of details of fact can be spoken repeatedly in situations where the hearers have no way of knowing that they are untrue. But in each case, God is dishonored and the liar’s moral character is further eroded, his conscience is progressively hardened against God’s law, and he becomes more open to committing other kinds of sin as well."

from the essay Why It Is Never Right to Lie, a contribution to the book Speaking the Truth in Love (a Festschrift for John Frame)