He lies, constantly and unremittingly. . . He holds to a lie, and then speaks his lies. . . . He cannot speak without lying. He listens to lies, he invents lies, he sends his friends out to lie for him, he delights in a lie, he spins lies like a juggler in a good circus, he schedules press conferences in order to have an opportunity to lie.
The Humpty Dumpty Syndrome
Who could forget the memorable interchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. At one point, Alice protests Humpty’s bizarre use of words. “When I use a word,” responded Humpty in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” Getting the better of him, Alice retorts, “The question is . . . whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
After seeing how some Promise Keepers speakers and writers press Scripture into service to justify all sorts of teachings, one is left to ask Alice’s penetrating question all over again — whether Promise Keepers can make the words of Scripture mean so many different things. We call this problem the Humpty Dumpty syndrome, and it is more prevalent than most would care to admit.
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”
Three quick points. First, the posting of this is encouraging and enabling a gross violation of the scriptural duty of keeping your promises and vows. If that scriptural point is not compelling enough, it is also a violation of the Westminster Larger Catechism. This is not just wrong; it is grotesque.
What is backbiting? It is spreading slander with the desire to hurt, annoy, humiliate, or damage someone’s reputation. It is spiteful, malicious, and false. The young widows in I Timothy 5 don’t have enough to do, and so they start wandering from house to house and ‘speaking things which they ought not.’ They are talking too much about other people’s affairs. This kind of careless speaking usually puts a spin on the real story, embellishing, exaggerating, attributing motives, complaining, and just plain making stuff up. And the truth is, God hates it.
Memo for the day: ‘You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.’ (Exodus 23:1)
The lake of fire is reserved for liars, and I take this as referring to those whose consciences are seared as with a hot iron. I believe this is speaking of men who don’t care about the truth, and are willing to advance stories that they know to be false. I don’t ever use that word lightly. One of my tasks in pastoral counseling, while trying to unsort human tangles, is to keep people from using that word.
This commandment strikes at the heart of falsehood and lies, which in their turn are the native language of the devil. Without truth and trust, biblical culture is an impossibility. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. . . . Continue reading
The Soviet Union is, first, the enemy of her own people, and secondly, the enemy of everyone else. Totalitarians are not just a ‘little different.’. . . Perhaps we should take off our blinders. The Soviets are good at what they do, and one or things they do is lie convincingly to invertebrates.
Liars are usually clever — you have to give them that. And one of the things the really smart ones know how to do is to use the last lie you caught them in as a basis for getting you . . . Continue reading
When we begin to lie, we are the first liar, but we are also frequently the first dupe. We don’t start by telling other people lies. We begin by telling ourselves that we are not lying — which is the first lie.
God does not only prohibit the invention of such lies, He prohibits us from circulating them. ‘You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness’ (Ex. 23:1). As Thomas Watson put it, very bluntly, it makes little difference if we carry the devil around in our mouth or in our ear.