How I Stopped Telling Lies
By Marinette, France
Before accepting God’s work of the last days, I would lie and curry favor with people without a second thought because I was afraid of disappointing or offending people by telling the truth. I became a believer inin November 2018, and I learned from His words that He hates people-pleasers and crafty people. I decided to put into practice and be an honest person, and after some effort, I became able to speak honestly most of the time. For example, when I was supposed to pay more than €50 for my medication but the pharmacist miscounted and took half of that, I just pointed out the mistake without even thinking. But it was harder to be frank when something impacted my reputation or personal interests.
In March 2021, I was serving as a church leader and was busy all the time. Sometimes I’d get really worn out from being behind on sleep. One afternoon just as I was about to take a nap, my partner, Sister Li, told me she wanted to chat about our work. I wasn’t too happy to see her message because I was tired, and didn’t want to discuss anything. I couldn’t think about anything at the time except wanting to have a rest, but I didn’t want to say that outright to Sister Li. I was afraid of what she’d think of me, that I was lazy or something, too concerned with physical comfort, and she’d think poorly of me. So for the sake of my image, I just told her, “Sorry, I have an important appointment. I need to go see the doctor.” The lie just came out of my mouth without me even thinking about it. I felt so guilty about it that I didn’t get any rest after all, but felt terrible all the time. God likes honest people. How could I lie so casually? Then how could I be trusted? I knew lying for my own physical comfort wasn’t right, that God wouldn’t like that, and I should put the church’s work first. I reached out to Sister Li right away. She asked me if I was already back from my appointment. I didn’t tell her the truth, but kept lying, not wanting to look bad in front of her and make her think I was a cunning person. I told her that I hadn’t seen my doctor, that she’d canceled at the last minute because she had to go to the vaccine clinic. Our conversation turned to work after that but I felt really uncomfortable. I’d lied to her once, then didn’t admit it, but kept lying. I saw how serious my satanic disposition was and I felt ashamed of myself. I could hardly look her in the eyes. I’d deceived her, which meant I was a really dishonest person. I was feeling really conflicted. If I came clean with her, it would destroy her image of me and she’d see me as dishonest. But if I kept lying, God would be disgusted by me. So I came before God to reflect on myself, and in my reflection, I realized I was slippery and crafty a lot in my life. One time a leader asked me if I’d let Sister Zhou know about a gathering that evening. I realized I hadn’t, but I didn’t tell the leader the truth, wanting to protect her image of me. I lied, saying I’d just let her know. Then I immediately sent Sister Zhou a message telling her about the gathering. Also, I generally went out to do grocery shopping every Friday morning, so I wasn’t able to join any last-minute gatherings then. I wouldn’t tell the truth, and just tell the leader directly that I needed to go buy food to stock my kitchen for the next few days, that it was the only time I had for grocery shopping. I would tell her that I had another gathering, or an appointment, and that was why I couldn’t go. I was twisting things, being cunning and deceptive just to protect my own image and make the leader think I was busy with my duty all the time. I saw I was nowhere near God’s requirements for honesty. So I prayed, “Almighty God, I really regret my lying and deceit. I just can’t stop lying for my own physical comfort. I’m not an honest person at all. God, please guide me and help me understand the truth, to be freed from this corruption.”
I read this passage of God’s words later: “In their everyday lives, people say much that is pointless, untrue, ignorant, stupid, and justificative. At root, they say these things for the sake of their own pride, to satisfy their own vanity; their utterance of these falsehoods is the outpouring of their corrupt disposition. Resolving this corruption will cleanse your heart, and thus make you ever more pure, and ever more honest. In fact, people all know why they tell lies: It is for the sake of their face. And in comparing themselves with others, they punch too far above their own weight to preserve their own dignity and integrity, but conversely ending up losing face, losing integrity, losing their dignity. That is because you tell so many lies, because every single thing you say is a lie. None of it is true. When you tell a lie, you might not lose face there and then, but in your heart, you feel utterly humiliated. So, too, does your conscience accuse you of being dishonest. In your heart, you think less of yourself, you despise yourself: ‘How could my life be so pathetic? Is it really so hard to say one honest thing? Must I always speak these lies for the sake of my face? Why is my life so exhausting?’ Life does not have to be so exhausting, but you did not choose the path of living easily and freely; you chose the path of preserving your own face and vanity—and so your life is very wearying. What is the face you gain from telling lies? It is something empty, something totally worthless. When you lie, you are betraying your own integrity and dignity. These lies cost people their dignity, they cost them their integrity, and this is not pleasing to God, it is despised by God. Is this worth it? Is this the right path? It is not. This is not living in the light. When you do not live in the light, you feel exhausted; you often lie, and then often have to back up these lies with more lies. You scour your brain for more nonsense, subjecting yourself to great torment, before ultimately thinking to yourself, ‘I must not lie any more. I must keep my mouth shut, say less.’ But you can’t stop yourself. Why? You cannot put aside your face and reputation; you can only tell lies to protect them. It feels like telling lies will preserve them, but that is not actually the case; not only have these lies not preserved your integrity and dignity, but, more importantly, you have lost the chance to practice the truth. You may have preserved your face and reputation, but you have lost the truth, you have lost the chance to practice the truth, you have lost the opportunity to be someone honest—and these are the biggest losses of all” (“Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). This described me perfectly. I saw that I was cunning and deceitful. When I just wanted to rest, I couldn’t tell the truth about something so small. I didn’t directly tell my partner that I needed a nap and wanted to meet with her a little later, but I lied instead. My motivation was to protect my face and status, to protect other people’s image of me. But God hates that kind of behavior, and I felt guilty about it, too. Just like God’s words say, “When you tell a lie, you might not lose face there and then, but in your heart, you feel utterly humiliated. So, too, does your conscience accuse you of being dishonest. In your heart, you think less of yourself, you despise yourself: ‘How could my life be so pathetic? Is it really so hard to say one honest thing? Must I always speak these lies for the sake of my face? Why is my life so exhausting?’” (“Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). I really identified with these words from God. I really did realize that telling lies to protect my reputation was an exhausting way to live, that I had to keep telling lies to cover up my initial lie, and I’d just end up becoming more and more fake and devious. I knew God hated it because He is holy and righteous. Thinking back on all my dishonesty, my conscience felt really accused after I lied, I regretted it and wept before God, and I felt ashamed of my lying. But then after the fact, I couldn’t help but keep telling more lies. It was so corrupt and shameful of me! Lying had become my very nature. I remembered something thesaid: “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). It was true. My constant lying showed that I belonged to the devil, and I was doing it just to protect my own image and reputation. But that took away all my character and dignity. It was so foolish of me! God was setting up chances for me to practice the truth and be an honest person, to bear witness and shame Satan. But I was falling for Satan’s tricks, being a laughingstock for it. It was just for my reputation, and to cover up my corruption. I wasn’t an honest person, but I was deceitful by nature.
I also read this in God’s words: “You ought to know that God likes those who are honest. In essence, God is faithful, and so His words can always be trusted; His actions, furthermore, are faultless and unquestionable, which is why God likes those who are absolutely honest with Him. Honesty means giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man” (“Three Admonitions” in). I saw that being honest means having no deception in your heart, no lies on your tongue, and never cheating God or man in anything. I realized I’d been really cunning with Sister Li before, always lying to protect my image and my own interests. I was tired and wanted to take a nap, so I didn’t want to discuss church work with her right then, but I didn’t just say what was on my mind, instead lying about having an appointment because I didn’t want her to think less of me. I preferred to lie to get out of that meeting rather than just say I was too tired and needed some rest. And when we did have our meeting, I didn’t admit my mistake, but kept lying, using another falsehood to cover up the first one. When my leader asked about work, I lied about having done something that I hadn’t actually done. And when I needed to do my weekly grocery shopping and that conflicted with a gathering time, I lied about having an appointment. I just wanted to protect my image in everything. I saw I had a really crafty, deceitful nature. I couldn’t tell the truth even about the most basic things. I was so deeply corrupted by Satan, I wasn’t remotely honest.
There was another passage of God’s words that I read. “Only if people seek to be honest can they know how deeply corrupted they are and whether or not they have any human likeness; only when they are practicing honesty can they become aware of how many lies they tell and how deeply hidden their deceit and dishonesty are. Only while having the experience of practicing being honest can people gradually come to know the truth of their own corruption and recognize their own nature and essence, and only then can their corrupt dispositions be constantly purified. Only in the course of their corrupt dispositions being constantly purified will people be able to gain the truth. Take your time experiencing these words. God does not perfect those who are deceitful. If your heart is not honest—if you are not an honest person—then you will not be gained by God. Likewise, you will not gain the truth, and will also be incapable of gaining God. What does it mean if you do not gain God? If you do not gain God and you have not understood the truth, then you will not know God, and so there will be no way you can be compatible with God, in which case you are the enemy of God. If you are incompatible with God, God is not your God; and if God is not your God, you shall not be saved. And if you cannot be saved, what are you doing believing in God? If you cannot attain salvation, you will forever be a bitter enemy of God, and your outcome will be set. Thus, if people wish to be saved, then they must start by being honest. There is a sign that marks those who shall ultimately be gained by God. Do you know what it is? It is written in Revelation, in the Bible: ‘And in their mouth was found no lie; they are without blemish’ (Rev 14:5). Who are ‘they’? They are those who are perfected and gained by God, and are saved. How does God describe these people? What are the characteristics and the expressions of their actions? (They are without blemish. They speak no lies.) You should all understand and grasp what speaking no lies means: It means being honest. What does it mean to be without blemish? How does God define someone who is without blemish? In God’s eyes, who is someone perfect? (Someone who fears God and shuns evil.) That’s right. In God’s eyes, it is quite simply someone who fears God and shuns evil. So, is being perfect connected to being without blemish, are they the same thing? (Yes.) Absolutely. So, what does ‘without blemish’ mean? (People who are perfect, who fear God and shun evil.) Correct. They are people who fear God and shun evil, people who are able to follow the way of God. Only people such as this are without blemish” (“Six Indicators of Life Growth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). Thinking this over really scared me. God says: “If you are not an honest person—then you will never be gained by God. Likewise, you will never gain the truth, and will also be incapable of gaining God.” “If you cannot attain salvation, you will forever be a bitter enemy of God, and your outcome will be set.” It’s true that God doesn’t save deceitful people. I knew that if I didn’t repent, I’d end up eliminated by God. Thanks to God’s words, I finally got a real understanding of myself and knew that lies come from the devil, and I lie because of the way I was raised and the influence of society. My mom had always told me that no matter how awful someone’s hair or clothing might look, I still had to say nice things so I didn’t hurt their feelings. Otherwise, no one would be there for me when I needed help. With that sort of education, I didn’t have the courage to be honest. I worked to maintain a good image so people would like me and think I was compassionate. But in fact, I ended up being a fake, deceitful person. It reminded me of Job 1:7 in the Bible: “And Jehovah said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Satan’s words were cunning and indirect, and it wasn’t clear what it was really saying. By lying, wasn’t I being cunning, just like Satan? I felt really ashamed, seeing I had the same kind of nature as Satan. I was living under Satan’s power, and I wasn’t free of my satanic disposition at all. How could I be compatible with Christ or gain God’s approval that way? I came before God to repent, and asked Him to forgive me. I really hated myself and hated Satan, and I felt so guilty. God’s disposition is righteous, and I knew I couldn’t keep lying and offending Him. Another passage I reflected on was this: “There is a sign that marks those who shall ultimately be gained by God. Do you know what it is? It is written in Revelation, in the Bible: ‘And in their mouth was found no lie; they are without blemish’ (Rev 14:5). Who are ‘they’? They are those who are perfected and gained by God, and are saved” (“Six Indicators of Life Growth” in The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days). God values those who are honest, and dishonest people won’t ever enter His kingdom. I really wanted to stop lying, to become unblemished, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed to seek God’s help to keep me from falling into Satan’s trap. Telling the truth might be embarrassing sometimes, but I wanted to stop telling lies. Then I reread “The Principles of Being an Honest Person.” “(1) In training oneself to be an honest person, it is necessary to rely on God. Give your heart over to Him, and accept His scrutiny. Only thus can one, over time, cast off their lies and deceit; (2) It is necessary to accept the truth and reflect on one’s every word and deed. Dissect the origin and essence of the corruption that is revealed in you, and come to really know yourself; (3) It is necessary to investigate in which matters one lies and harbors deceptiveness. Dare to dissect yourself and lay yourself bare, and apologize to others and make amends. …” (170 Principles of Practicing the Truth). I knew I had to apologize to Sister Li. I was so deceitful, I’d lied to her twice. I decided that I had to open up to her about my corruption and my motivations. I couldn’t hide those things. I had to tell the truth and be an honest person, no matter what. After praying quite a few more times, I mustered up the courage to lay myself bare to Sister Li. I told her in detail all about how I’d deceived her and that I’d repented before God. I stopped covering up for my lies, because I knew God was watching me, and I had to share everything in detail. After I was done, I felt like a great weight had been lifted from me, and I was much more relaxed.
After that I started coming before God in prayer all the time, asking Him to scrutinize my heart. When I had some sort of cunning intention, or if I was dishonest or deceitful, I asked God to discipline and stop me. I knew that a problem with lying can’t be resolved immediately and I’d never really been an honest person in my life. I wanted to keep seeking to become an honest person. God likes and blesses those who are honest, and only honest people can be saved. Since then, whenever I realized I was having a devious thought, I came before God and pray, “God, I’ve run into a problem, and I feel like I can’t get through it without lying. Please enlighten me to understand the truth, and give me the strength to forsake the flesh. Oh God, I want to practice the truth and be an honest person. Please help me. I’m so grateful to You!”
One time after a gathering, a leader asked me what I’d thought of it. I’d actually noticed that he was being imperious in the gathering, and there were other problems with his fellowship. But I was afraid of injuring his pride with the truth, and then he wouldn’t like me. I didn’t want to be honest and change his opinion of me. So I said, “It was great.” Then I felt awful as soon as I said that. I realized I’d lied, so I prayed to God and asked Him to guide me to be an honest person and tell the truth. So then I went and talked to the leader about the problems with the gathering and felt much more at peace. The next gathering he held was much better. I saw that God listens when we are heartfelt in our prayers. I did notice that after some time, I was gradually changing. I’d always lied before to protect my face and status. But when I gave my heart to God, asking Him to watch over my heart, watch over me, and keep me in check, I saw my own state more clearly. I came before God in prayer and practiced being honest. That might offend people sometimes, but being an honest person before God is more important to me.
Before I had a habit of lying to make people happy, to protect my face and status, but now I’m working on being an honest person in all the environments that God sets up for me. I’m really grateful to God for these experiences and this understanding. The judgment of His words have helped me see my corruption and ugliness and undergo some changes. I know that changing a habit of lying is a process, and that God is setting up one situation after another for me to experience. I have to stay alert so that I don’t tell a lie that disgusts God. The most important thing is to accept the judgment of God’s words, and to pray and rely on Him to truly be freed from a tendency to lie. May all glory go to Almighty God!