Instant death seems like a pretty extreme punishment for lying. I mean, everyone lies. If I don’t like your new haircut, I’ll probably say something like, “It’s nice.” I don’t want to hurt your feelings. Is there anything wrong with that?
Well, God hates lying. So yes, there’s something wrong with that. But I’m not going to analyze polite words to see if they are lies. Instead I want to see what it is about lying that God hates. When Ananias and Sapphira told their lie, they did it deliberately. They planned to do it, and they did it to benefit themselves, while still looking unselfish. Peter told them they had lied to the Holy Spirit.
I see three things about this that God would hate.
They planned to lie. They knew what was wrong and chose to do it. Their hearts had rejected God’s truth.
They wanted to look good to the other Christians. They were more concerned with their own appearances than they were with the truth.
They lied to the Holy Spirit. Even though they told the lie to Peter, their sin was against God. He knew their heart, but they pretended He didn’t.
I do these things too. For example, when I agree to do something for someone and don’t get it done, I think of excuses to tell them. “I was busy” or “I forgot” when the truth is that I remembered, but put it off, even though I had plenty of time. Sometimes I just lie to myself. Some days I don’t do much to clean my house. I tell myself that I don’t feel well because I didn’t sleep well, or I’m too busy, when the truth is that I’m feeling lazy that day. (sometimes there are true reasons for not doing what I should, but I’m talking about the occasions when they aren’t true)
Those are lies. Lies I tell others so I won’t look bad. Lies I tell myself. Lies I tell the Holy Spirit.
Recently a friend asked people to tell her their understanding of integrity. I think integrity is not lying to the Holy Spirit.
I want to walk with God in complete honesty. I don’t want to lie to myself about what I do and think and I don’t want to lie to Him.
So far, I haven’t been struck dead when I lied. I can only attribute that to God’s love and mercy. But I have experienced a kind of death. The death of my confidence in God’s presence. I never really believe my lies, and I’m ashamed to talk to God when I do it because I have this thing hanging over my head.
But thanks to God’s grace, I can come boldly up to His throne and confess the lies. And ask the Holy Spirit to make me more conscious of the temptation.