Are You Guilty of Exaggerating the Facts Or Embellishing the Truth?

Are You Guilty of Exaggerating the Facts Or Embellishing the Truth?

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. — Colossians 3:9

The Bible has much to say about liars. If you have a tendency to lie, it is essential that you bring correction to this part of your life as soon as possible. But you may ask, “How do we define a lie? What exactly does the Bible mean when it says we need to stop lying?”

In Colossians 3:9, the apostle Paul said, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” The word “lie” is the Greek word pseudomai, which carries the idea of any type of falsehood. It can picture a person who projects a false image of himself; someone who deliberately walks in a pretense that is untrue; or someone who intentionally misrepresents facts or truths.

In Greek, the word pseudomai is used in a variety of ways:

  • pseudapostolos: describes false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13).
  • pseudoprophetes: paints a portrait of false prophets (Matthew 7:15).
  • pseudodidaskalos: pictures those who are false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).
  • pseudochristos: denotes those who are false Christs (Matthew 24:24).
  • pseudoadelphos: plainly depicts a false brother (2 Corinthians 11:26).
  • pseudomartureo: conveys the idea of a false witness (Matthew 19:18).
  • pseudologos: denotes a false word or one who speak falsehoods (1 Timothy 4:2).

In every instance where the word pseudomai (“lying”) is used in the New Testament, it portrays someone who misrepresents who he is by what he does, by what he says, or by the fact or truth he purports to be true. It was in regard to this wrong behavior that Paul said, “Lie not one to another.…” It is very important to point out that in Greek, the grammar conveys the idea of a strong prohibition, meaning this verse should be translated, “Stop lying to one another.…” It implies that the believers to whom Paul was writing struggled with the issue of honesty in their lives.

Paul’s words to the Colossians could be interpreted like this:

“I command you to stop the practice of misrepresenting the truth, twisting the facts, projecting untrue images, or deliberately misleading others by giving them false information.…”

Lying is a temptation that all of us have to deal with in our lives. Apparently even the Colossian church struggled so strongly with this problem two thousands years ago that Paul had to write and tell them to stop lying.

You may not deliberately set out to lie, but anytime you misrepresent the truth about your abilities; say something about another person that you don’t know to be true; slightly twist the facts to your advantage; or trump up a story about yourself or your past deeds to make yourself look better in the sight of others — you have fully entered into what the Bible views as “lies.”

All this behavior was forbidden by Paul when he wrote, “Lie not to one another….” Paul’s words cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted. This is a clear mandate to stop the habit of lying and to no longer give your consent to participate in any type of falsehood, dishonesty, deceit, fabrication, or misrepresentation of the truth in your life or in your conversation.

If you are the head of your household, church, ministry, or business, you have every right to demand that people stop being untruthful with you and each other. Let it be known that truthfulness is important — so important, in fact, that it is the foundation of all successful relationships at home, at church, and at work. It is impossible to build trust in a relationship if you suspect that the other person is being dishonest with you.

If you are the one in charge, set the example by always being truthful with the people under you. When people know that you are being straight with them, at least they’ll know they can always depend on you to tell the truth, even if they don’t like what you’re telling them. In this way you can set the standard for integrity and truthfulness between all the members of your family, your church, or your business.

But what if you are the one who dresses up or slightly misconstrues the facts to your advantage or to the disadvantage of others? If that is the case, it’s time for you to get honest about this sin in your life! And that’s exactly what it is — sin! Quit telling yourself that you’re just exaggerating a little or being dramatic. Maybe that’s how you try to rationalize your behavior, but God views it as telling falsehoods and says it should not be tolerated in your life!

Are there any areas in your life where you have permitted a little exaggeration? Have you ever misrepresented the truth about who you are, what you can do, what you have done, or what you have heard or think of others? Can you honestly say that the words you speak are accurate, or would you have to admit that you have been a little dishonest in how you report certain matters? If you know in your heart that you haven’t been totally truthful, what are you going to do about it now?

Or perhaps you are a leader in your family, church, or business, and you know that people under your authority are regularly misrepresenting the truth to you. If so, will you continue to tolerate this seriously wrong behavior and thus allow a lack of confidence and suspicion to prevail? Or are you going to put an end to all lies and deception? What are you going to do about this situation?

The Holy Spirit is available to help both the liar and the one who must bring correction to the liar. So if you have misrepresented the facts in the past but are willing to repent and change, God’s Spirit will enable you to stop lying and to learn how to be more truthful. And if you are the one who must bring correction to the dishonest person, just turn to the Holy Spirit for help. He will show you exactly what to say and how to say it so truth can prevail in that particular situation. 

sparking gems from the greek

My Prayer for Today

Lord, I admit that I’ve exaggerated the facts and embellished the truth on many occasions. I’m so sorry for doing this. I blamed it on my personality, but now I understand that You view this as dishonesty. I ask You to help me stop making excuses for this behavior and to accept responsibility for the words and messages I project to others. When I stand before You, I want a clear conscience that I have been honest, forthright, and balanced in the things I’ve said about myself or about others. Holy Spirit, I need Your help to bring correction to this part of my life, so today I yield myself to You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

My Confession for Today

I confess that I speak the truth and that I don’t exaggerate the facts or speak lies! When people talk to me, they can count on the fact that I don’t embellish the truth or twist the facts to my advantage. They can rest assured that I’m honest about myself and the situations in which I find myself. I keep my nose out of other people’s business and concern myself instead with those issues that have to do with me and my areas of responsibility. Because God is my Helper and His grace is working mightily in me, I am becoming more and more honest every day!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

Questions to Answer

1. Are there any areas in your life where you know you’ve been dishonest about who you are, what you’ve done, or what you can do? Or have you ever been dishonest in regard to what you’ve said about other people?

2. If your answer is yes to these questions, what steps are you going to take to bring correction to the times you have lied in the past? Are you going to let the lie continue to be repeated as though it were a fact, or will you go to those who heard your dishonest words and tell them the truth?

3. What do you think God is telling you to do about the falsehoods and dishonest issues you have allowed in your life?