In light of our sermon series on Proverbs 6:16-19, the following excerpt from chapter 3, ”A Lying Tongue”, in Allen Webster’s book Seven Things a Loving God Hates (Jacksonville, Ala.: House to House Publishing, 2006) is provided (pp. 26-27).
What are the Different Kinds of Lies?
Some have used creative words to explain away lying. Alexander Haig said, “That’s not a lie; it’s a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation.” Abraham Lincoln’s famous quotation fits such redefining: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” We know a lie is an untruth. It is something told to deceive. But there are kinds of lies that may not be as easily recognized – remember that all lying is condemned, according to Revelation 21:8.
An unknown author has compiled the following list:
- Twisting words: Making a person say something he did not say.
- Twisting truth: Clever wording to make a lie out of a fact. Falsehoods were told on Christ both before His death (Matthew 26:61), and after (Matthew 28:13-15).
- Shading the truth: A perversion of the facts.
- Half-truths: Part of the truth, disguised as the whole truth. Morally, it is significant that the court demands of each witness that he “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Someone observed that a half-truth is often a lot less than that. Abraham told a half-truth about Sarah being his sister – she was his half sister – but it was a whole lie because they did not live together as brother and sister (Genesis 12:13; 20:2).
- Misstatement of fact: Just a plain, unvarnished lie. Satan added only one word to God’s statement, but completely changed God’s intent (Genesis 3:4).
- Jumping to a conclusion: Assuming one knows when one does not.
- Crafty questions: Creating a doubt and unwarranted suspicion.
- Bodily movements: A wink, a nod, a smile conveying deception (Cf. Proverbs 6:12-14).
- Slandering: Uttering false charges which damage a reputation.
- Gossiping: Indulging in sensational, intimate chatter.
- Judging: Arriving at a verdict of guilty, without all the facts (cf. Matthew 7:1-2).
- Exaggerating: Enlarging a thing beyond the bounds of truth.
- Presuming: Accusation backed up by probability instead of facts.
- Accusations: Condemning a person on purely circumstantial evidence.
- Insinuations: Making statements which leave untrue impressions.
- Inference: A chain of reasoning which condemns without evidence.
- Innuendo: A veiled reflection on one’s character or reputation.
- Surmises: Placing guilt when the evidence is scanty or slight.
- Suspicion: Casting a cloud of mistrust without evidence.
- Silence: Withholding information which could clear the “guilty” one.
- Flattery: Insincere and excessive praise from motives of self-interest.
- Quotation: Making another person do your lying for you.
- White Lies: Just plain black lies a hypocrite has tried to whitewash.