Akan negotiated the first bend towards the main highway and came to a halt in front of his friend, Ushie’s house at First Avenue. He knew that if he didn’t stop by his friend’s house now, the visit might be delayed another two or more days. What was the harm? He could tidy up this message before proceeding to where his uncle sent him in the first place. Besides, this was a good time to meet Ushie in the house before he left for his trip to Lagos. Akan parked the car outside the gate to be sure he would not be delayed. His friend opened the front door for him promptly.
“Good you are here,” Ushie greeted. “I was about to leave the house, to do some last minute runs.”
“Thank God,” Akan sighed. His judgment had been rewarded. “How are you?”
“Fine, thanks. And you?”
“As good as I can be. My uncle has agreed to give me the money.”
“In fact, I’m supposed to go and pick up his wife now to the hospital. She’ll be waiting,” Akan said breathlessly.
“Is there a problem?”
“No, none at all. He has even sent his secretary to the bank. By the time I get back to his office, the money will be ready.”
“Okay. That’s good.”
“I wanted to know when I can meet you in the house to drop the money.”
“Come anytime from 7pm.”
“I’ll be here. Do you remember the details of the Bibles and other Christian books I want?”
“You have nothing to worry about.”
“I have to run …” Akan’s cell phone rings. He checks for the caller. “It’s aunty. I have to go. I’ll see you in the evening”.
He picks the phone. “Hello, aunty … yes, yes I’m on my way … I’m sorry. Sorry … I saw an accident on First Avenue … No, it has cleared … no, and it’s not serious. Yes … I’ll be with you in two minutes. Okay … Okay, bye.”
“Oh boy, I have to run. See you in the evening,” Akan rushes out of the house.
* * *
Telling of lies is as old as the Garden of Eden. In fact, many believers don’t even know the difference these days between lying, using wisdom and covering up. We lie unnecessarily and compulsively. It’s as if it cannot be controlled. G.S.M. has only made it worse. I believe it’s also because we really don’t see the potency of the sin called LIE.
Telling lies is as bad a sin as stealing, cheating and gossiping. More so, the Bible characterizes it with such ‘big’ sins as adultery, fornication, and murder (Revelation 21:8). If it’s that bad, then why do we see a whole lot of believers so nonchalant about the ‘lie syndrome’? One thing that should register in our minds is that the devil is the father of all liars! Huh, how far? That bad? Yes, that bad!
We lie for no just cause. We even lie when we could tell the truth without feeling bad. A married Christian man disturbed me consistently for sex before I got married. He would come to my office and make silly gestures. When I got tired of avoiding him on my own, I contracted the services of my colleague in the same office, who was also a Christian, to help me chase him away. She did so by telling a lot of lies. Some of those lies were my recommendation. Initially, I felt justified because I believed I was fighting for a right cause. But I realized I had simply given excuses for committing sin. I repented of that and continued to avoid the man since I didn’t have the courage to rebuke his foolish advances. What I believe is that just as the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, there is a way of escape, either by speaking the truth boldly or by fleeing from the situation. Many Christians believe that fleeing is cowardly but even the Bible admonishes that there may be some situations when your saving grace is the ability to speak to your legs and run (1 Thessalonians 5:22). I refer to these harmless, avoidable lies as the white lies. A Biblical example is the one told first by Abraham, and then by Isaac concerning their wives. (Genesis 12:14-19; 26:7-10).
Diplomacy is important for every believer but I still insist you can be diplomatic without telling lies. A question was asked during the issues of life talk show about secretaries who have been asked by their bosses to lie for them, what do you do? Do you say, “My boss is out” when he is actually in the office? Or “he is busy right now and can’t receive visitors” when you know fully well this excuse may cause some damage to your boss and your job? Or “he is not available” when in actual sense he could be available and has been for some others. I will choose the third reply. If said very politely, you have not only covered up for your superior, you have absolved yourself from lying. Not available could range from not around at all, or not available for a visit at the particular time. Christian diplomats have had to tell lies for their countries when in a time of war; they have had to paint a picture of peace. Some have called it “speaking those things that are not as though they were” and others have called it “wisdom.” Either way, it is a lie of some sorts and I call this a grey lie! A Christian brother in the period of fuel scarcity, prayed in his house for wisdom and favour to buy fuel in the thick and long queues at the filling stations. He then dressed like a military personnel in khaki knickers-bucker, and army green t-shirt with Pam sandals. He went to a filling station where there was a very long queue but they were selling fuel and beckoned boldly on one of the attendants.
He said, “What’s going on here?”
The attendant replied, “We are selling sir. If you bring your car to the other side, I will open the gate.”
The attendant opened the gate to the brother and he filled his tank. The brother did not leave however before hearing the grumbling from the attendant that “he didn’t want any trouble from soldiers.” Obviously, the attendant had been misled.
This lie is the one that only God can truly judge because it is tricky. Biblical examples are the ones told by Rahab and Samuel (Joshua 2:3-8; 1 Sam. 16:1-2)
The final and most potent of the lies is what I call the black lie. It is manipulative, destructive, and premeditated. It is unfortunate that as potent as this lie is, many believers still indulge in it. In the office, you see believers lying against one another to get the attention of their superior officers. Students cheat and manipulate their scores. Some businessmen tamper with expiry dates, meter reading, shapes of their measuring units and so on. This is so terrible and unfair. Manipulating or deceiving others cannot determine your gain and future blessing. God is not mocked for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap also. No matter how you manipulate yourself into success, you cannot be maintained there. A Christian sister, in a bid to gain the favour of fellow Christians in the fellowship, lied against her roommate. She wanted to “shine” at the expense of her fellow sister. The table turned at the end. While the sister being blasphemed got married and had children, the blasphemer was still single. There is no gain in causing others pain. An example is Jacob (Genesis 27: 6-30). Even Jacob had to change his name to Israel before he could move on in life!