My cousin and I are having a friendly debate about lying. I say it isn't wrong to tell a little lie as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, but he says every lie is wrong, no matter how small it is. Which of us is right, in your opinion? — T.B.
The Bible is clear: Lying of any type is wrong in God's sight. The Psalmist prayed, "Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues" (Psalm 120:2). The Bible also says that "the Lord hates ... a lying tongue" (Proverbs 6:16-17).
Why is this? One reason is because God always speaks the truth—and so should we. I often quote what the Bible says in Psalm 18:30: "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless." Jesus told us we should strive to be perfect as well (see Matthew 5:48). The Bible says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs" (Ephesians 4:29).
But another reason why even a "small" lie is wrong is because lying always hurts someone. No, you may not intend to hurt someone by what you say—but how do you know what impact your words may have? But more than that, when we lie, we hurt ourselves. We compromise our integrity, and we lower ourselves in the eyes of others. Why take the risk?
Ask God to help you stop lying, even in small ways. I can't help but wonder, however, if you have an even greater need: to turn your life over to Christ. Ask Him to come into your life and change you—and He will.