“That you are to keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile” (Psalm 34:13). I believe the moment of the lie is for the Christian because the harm by a treacherous word is more than just external. Scripture says “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment” (Proverbs 12:18).
Now the efforts of liars do not last forever. Everything will come to the light (Luke 8:17).
So are we to think of the liar’s efforts as only affecting for a little while? Are we to take comfort that the liar will soon be found out? Are we to believe that the liar will lose and the truth-sayer will be victorious? Are we to think the liar loses as soon as the truth is revealed?
The world gives a lie such a short life span! The world thinks that a lie will die either when the lie is exposed or when the lie is small—a lie so small it sneaks past the vision of God (I say this sarcastically). The world says “When the truth comes out, people will forget the lie, and the lie will put the liar to shame.” “What harm,” the world continues, “can a little white lie do if it harms no one?”
Here, the world appears to take the side of truth and falsehood. How the world weighs morality on improper balances and unjust weights! How the world seems to balance itself perfectly! But the lie does not die. The lie puts the liar to shame. Yet the world leaves out, as it usually does, how long is this shame. Furthermore, the lie may not harm others, but one’s “lying” is an instance of one hurting the self.
It is higher to think that lies do not primarily hurt others but hurt the liar (the self). In other words, when one lies, that person is not mainly putting other people’s lives in danger but his or her self. That is to say, a lie harms the self first, and although the lie may seem to hurt others or harm others, it truly only affects the liar, and this harm—without the intervention of Jesus Christ—never goes away.
So we read that “Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace is joy” (Proverbs 12:20). So we read that “there shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief” (Proverbs 12:21). And we read that “But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:8-10).
When the truth is revealed, the harm of the lie does not disappear. No. It attaches itself to the liar like lice, ticks, viruses, and leeches. By far, the purpose of the lie, which is to harm, is not satisfied with a non-host. No. The purpose—the life-function—of the lie is to drain, steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) the live-host (the host of the lie, the lie creator).
We are told to tell the truth so we won’t harm ourselves. A lie is a symptom that a person is living with a disease, and this disease is a sickness that leads to death (Revelation 21:8). A liar has the promise to be filled with misery (Proverbs 12:21). This fulfillment is, indeed, not for a moment. No. “The moment” is only for the Christian. But the life of a lie for the non-Christian is everlasting, and everlasting hell.
Does not Scripture say “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Does not Scripture say that “The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night” (Revelation 14:11)?
The Christian knows of the blessing of being (as in its existentiality—being) in “the moment.” The Christian knows that lies are temporary. The Christian says “life is like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow” (James 4:14). The Christian says “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” (Genesis 47:9)” “Such evil,” the Christian continues, “has been but for a moment.” The Christian knows that lies do not stain their eternity. “With Jesus,” the Christian proclaims, “what do I have to fear with a lie?” “I am protected by Jesus Christ” (Romans 8:38-39)!
Howbeit, this lie or lies do not come from the Christian’s mouth. “Woe to the non-Christian,” the Christian laments, “that is eternally stained by lies that are told!” As Zach Williams’ song expresses, fear is a liar and extinguished by fire.
For the Christian knows that “the moment of the lie” is only for him or her. “The moment of the lie” is not the “lying” but the lie itself. To be sure, there’s deceit in the “lying” person (Proverbs 12:20). But this deceit is not toward others. No! The deceit is this: that the liar believes he or she deceives for a moment when it is the liar who is deceived eternally. What a dreadful deception!
One should, thus, not think of a lie as a momentary, external, and necessary evil. No. It is quite eternal, internal, and unnecessary! When one thinks of a lie in this manner, the lie becomes less generic and more personal. Therefore, although the Christian experiences “the moment of the lie,” the non-Christian experiences its eternity.