A pastor was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them around twelve years of age. The lads had surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the animal, he went over and asked “What are you doing with that dog?” One of the boys replied, “This mutt is just an old neighborhood stray; we all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whoever can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.” Of course, the minister was taken aback by this. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. The reverend then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning with – “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie,” adding on, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.” Dead silence followed for about a minute. Then just as the minister was beginning to think he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, “All right, mister, you get the dog!”
Every time the fictitious Pinocchio lied, his nose grew longer. Of course, a real boy’s nose does not change when he fibs, but his brain does, according to a new study just published in The Neuroscience Journal. Researchers at the University College in London, England, have discovered that the brain actually does change over time when someone continues to lie. You see, for the vast majority of people, the brain area known as the amygdala (an almond shaped cluster of nerve tissue located in the very middle of the brain) begins a rapid-fire response when a person is dishonest, producing uncomfortable reactions – our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, and we begin to perspire. (This is how a polygraph machine works, detecting these same physiological changes that alerts the operator that a person is lying). And it is these unpleasant sensations that discourage us from not telling the truth. But scientists found that when people lie repeatedly, the amygdala begins settling down and decreases in response, each time making it easier and easier to lie. (Eighty people had their heads hooked up to brain scanners and were given outright lies to tell others. The first small lie started up the amygdala and over the weeks that followed, bigger lies activated the amygdala less and less, until it just seemed to turn off.)
These findings should not surprise us. The Apostle Paul reminded us of this very thing at the beginning of his Letter to the Romans. There he told us that God has put an internal, moral conscience within everyone, but when a person dulls his mind with habitual sin, the Lord turns them over to the sin they choose and they just continue like a snowball headed down the hill.
The bottom line? Your mom was onto something when she warned you that one lie begets another.
ROMANS 1:28 – And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.
LINES ON LYING
● Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile … ● If the words don’t add up, it’s usually because the truth wasn’t included in the equation … ● Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair … ● Never trust people who say, “Trust me” … ● Apology accepted, trust denied. …. ● I don’t tolerate lies. I’m a nice person, but I’m not stupid … ● Don’t be sorry I trusted you. My fault, not yours …● The worst thing about being lied to is knowing you weren’t worth the truth … ● The truth doesn’t cost anything, but a lie may cost you everything … ● Lying makes a problem part of the future; truth makes a problem part of the past … ● There’s nothing worse than a grown man still lying.
EPHESIANS 4:25 – Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour.