In Ephesians 4:25 Paul says ‘put away falsehood.’
In other words, don’t lie.
But what exactly does he mean by that? What does it mean to lie?
Here are some examples I came up with:
1. I am speaking falsehood when I contradict the truth.
I am talking about the times when someone is saying the opposite of the truth.
2. I am speaking falsehood when I distort the truth.
I am talking about the times when what someone might say is technically true but they are using the truth in a deceitful way to either promote or protect themselves.
3. I am speaking falsehood when I misrepresent the truth.
I am talking about times when someone might misrepresent someone else’s intentions in what they said or what they did.
I am talking about times when someone might share a “prettified” version of events in order to promote or protect themselves.
I am talking about times when someone might say things as absolute facts that they are not certain of at all and which may in reality not be actually true.
I am talking about times when someone might say say one thing to a certain person and another opposite thing to someone else about the same situation.
I am talking about times when someone says that are going to do something or act like they are going to do something but don’t.
4. I am speaking falsehood when I am speaking sneaky.
I am talking about times when someone might try to lay traps for people through their words. When someone is speaking to someone but they are not really caring about their good or how to glorify God, but they are asking questions in order to manipulate the conversation to ensnare them or attack them or provide evidence later that they can use to hurt them.
Those are specific examples of speaking falsehood and I am sure you have more, but maybe it will help if I take a step back and speak more generically.
If you want to summarize the kind of falsehood that we need to be turning from and putting off, I think there are two main characteristics of the kind of false speech Paul’s talking about.
First, falsehood is the kind of speech that doesn’t flow out of faith in God but instead trust in one self.
Lying is a form of self-salvation. Where does lying come from, what is it really, it is when we don’t believe God is for us and we don’t believe that God can protect us and provide for us and so we use our words to try to do for ourselves what God has promised to do for us through Jesus Christ. We are being false when we use our words to promote ourselves, when we use our words to gain advantage for ourselves, when we use our words to try to protect ourselves from legitimate consequences of sinful choices, when our words aren’t motivated by faith in God but by trust in self.
Second, falsehood is the kind of speech that is not based on the truth of the gospel and God’s Word but instead on the errors and lies of the world.
Whenever you give counsel that twists the Scripture or that is from the world and not true to what God says in His Word, you are speaking falsehood, and really that is falsehood of the most dangerous kind.