Rebekah lived in a polygamous society where the women were property and beautiful women were commodities to be purchased at the cost of gold or blood. Isaac, her husband, knew this all too well; so when he was asked, “Who is this woman?” he lied out of fear, saying, “She is my sister!” And why not? Who keeps faith with the enemy? A generation before, his father, Abraham, had essentially done the same thing to try to protect his mother. You can read about both incidents in the book of Genesis. This issue of lying to protect someone when the very act of dishonesty only endangers relationships all the more is not new. The incidents which I related took place almost 5,000 years ago, yet the issue is as relevant as your wife’s most recent visit with her neighbor or best friend.
Take, for example, the woman who was involved in an affair, and thinking she had to tell someone, told her best friend, making her promise not to mention a word of this to anyone, including her husband. After her husband had lunch with the husband of his wife’s best friend, he commented to his wife, “Something’s wrong. I don’t know what it is. Do you?’ Caught between loyalty to her friend and her husband, she lied, “No, I have no idea.” It was the first time she had ever consciously lied to the man she loved. She hoped the whole issue would go away. It didn’t. One lie led to another. She became part of the conspiracy, and she felt as guilty as if she herself were involved in the affair.
Finally, the whole situation became public, and when it did, her part was confessed with tears and remorse. Was she protecting her friend? No, she would tell you, she was betraying her own husband out of misplaced loyalty. “Don’t ever tell me anything I have to lie about,” she now tells her friends.
The truth about lies in marriage is that they just don’t work. No relationship is more intimate, more personal, and more complete than is marriage, and though one person thinks he or she is sparing the other, the fact is he or she is violating the very fabric of a relationship and is undoing the trust that was woven over a period of many months, perhaps many years.
“The truth hurts,” people sometimes tell me in trying to explain why they chose the path of deception. “Of course, it hurts!” I agree, but the consequences of deception and eventual discovery hurt far, far more. What is unconfessed, which may involve only one or two others, eventually becomes public news and the pain and shame only multiply.
When Abraham and then a generation later his son Isaac lied, they learned through painful experiences that God’s protection, care and forgiveness bring the least suffering to themselves and to others who are caught in the deceit trap.
I’ve been focusing on a fascinating passage found in the book of Proverbs where the writer records six things which God hates, even seven which are detestable to Him. Lying is the second on that list. Whether it is a friendship, or the workplace, or the intimate relationship you have with your mate, absolute and complete honesty is the only ingredient that will produce growth and stability.
Interestingly enough, looking at the list of character flaws which God hates, then matching them with some of the great men and women of the Bible, I have to say with the Psalmist, “The Lord remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).
Resource Reading: Psalm 103
Text: When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful” Genesis 26:7
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 25, 2017