The 7 Biggest Lies that Christians Tell, Everyday

Christians are summoned by Jesus to be truthful. We are meant to celebrate the truth, pursue the truth, and to tell the truth in words and in behaviour. Too often, however, we treat the truth like a napkin to be used, sullied and disposed of with convenience and ease. Here are seven of the biggest lies that Christians tell in everyday life.

1. My feelings are justified. We all rationalise sin. We use lies to do so. However, there are certain feelings that are never justifiable. Envy, spite, lust, petty jealousy, spiritual pride, fits of rage, selfish ambition, coveting, stubborn-unforgiveness are obvious examples. Nonetheless, we convince ourselves that, given what ‘he’ said to me, in the light of how ‘she’ treats me – if you only understood what I’ve been through – such feelings are okay. They aren’t. To say the opposite is to tell a lie.

2. I need to earn my self-worth. We live in a society that idolises achievement and that measures self-worth in the currency of accomplishment. We are repeatedly shown images of successful people who win happiness and status through dogged determination, self-sacrifice, and a bit of luck. Christians unconsciously adopt this pattern of thinking. Our natural taste for legalism mixes with the secular religion of success so that we begin to tell ourselves the hazardous lie that I need to earn my self-worth. This isn’t true. The gospel declares that our worth is dependent upon God’s love, which is given freely to us in Christ. To say the opposite is to tell a lie.

3. I need to validate my self-worth. To validate is to check or prove the validity or accuracy of something. We may accept that our worth is freely given to us in Christ, but then begin to believe that we have to maintain or demonstrate this worth through personal, individual effort. When we think this way, we forget that sanctification is every bit as dependent upon grace as justification. To be a Christian is to be ‘in Christ’. This means that our worth is both given to us in Christ and validated for us by Christ. We have no ‘self-existence’ apart from Christ. He is our righteousness. To say the opposite is to tell a lie.

4. I can live in the darkness. In an age of authenticity, people think that actions do not matter. What matters is ‘in the heart’. If I am true to my feelings, actions are of secondary importance. Christians often adopt this manner of thinking. We are content to believe in our hearts that Jesus is lord while living our lives as if Jesus was a second thought. I John 1:6 warns us against this. ‘If we claim to have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.’

5. I don’t have to love you. We also lie by not showing love to one another. I John 3:17 says, ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?’ John adds, ‘Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.’ To claim to worship the one who laid down his life for his friends, and not to demonstrate practical love for one another, is to tell a lie with our actions.

6. I am not a sinner in need of grace. The modern church fosters hypocrisy. To walk into a Church is to see a middle class gathering of professional people who are put together, well-dressed, and orderly. The unspoken message is clear: we are not messy people in need of divine grace. To appear this way is to tell the unchurched a lie. The world needs to see that the church today is like the church that gathered around Jesus during his earthly ministry. We are a motley group of sinners who have no hope apart from God.

7. I don’t need you. The church is plagued by consumeristic religion. We go to church to shop for our religious needs, and we only give and take according to what interests us. Therefore, we are reluctant to commit to a congregation and, more importantly, reluctant to commit to one another. To act this way is to tell the lie that I don’t need you, and you don’t need me. Our behaviour suggests that we can all get on fine alone. However, this is not true. If the church is the body of Christ, no member can survive on its own, let alone function. Until the church is a community of brother and sisters who acknowledge their need for one another, the church is telling a lie.

By Joe Barnard