From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 10 – How we can develop ‘the love of the truth’ and the character quality , and habit, of truthfulness?
Although God is calling us to live lives of absolute truthfulness, the reality is that most of the people around us, and maybe even we ourselves, use lies as weapons. They are used routinely:
a) to damage and undermine others who may be rivals, competitors or personal enemies.
b) to gain assets, positions or any kind of competitive advantage for oneself.
c) to avoid detection or criticism
d) to cause strife, division and mistrust between other people. People often create discord deliberately, so that a particular person can be kept isolated and prevented from working together with others. Such cooperation might be a threat to the wrongdoer. In other words, they tell lies about the people they work with in order to “divide and rule”.
See Book Six on dealing with wicked people for further detail on these issues and the tactics which devious people use. Deception is an important part of the ‘armoury’ of the average unbeliever, whether he is only a fool or a fully-fledged wicked person. The people around us use lies as weapons and as tactics and devices and they do so routinely, on a daily basis.
A very large percentage of what we are told by those around us, i.e. our colleagues, bosses, staff, acquaintances and even friends, is lies. That is not merely a possibility, but a virtual certainty. The real question is not whether one is being lied to, but by whom, and on what issues. Frequently it comes in the most unexpected ways and from the people one least suspects.
Accordingly, our first duty is to root out deception from our own lives and to ‘unilaterally disarm’. That means that we cease to use lies as a weapon ourselves. However, we must also recognise that most of the people we know and work with will be continuing to tell lies to us, whether small or large, and whether rarely or frequently. The lies will inevitably come and we need to become equipped to discern those lies and to protect ourselves from their effect.