Spiders build webs that a lot of bugs get stuck in. But because they know where the sticky spots are, spiders don't get trapped in the web they weave.
I saw it when I watched Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong. "One big lie" - that's how he described what's happened in his record-breaking sports career. It was all built on brilliantly concealed "doping" and a cascading series of cover-up lies. Lots of folks got caught in the web - from bicycle racing officials to teammates to a world of admirers.
The Latin root of the word "deceive" means "to ensnare." First, lying ensnares those deceived. Ultimately, it ensnares the deceiver. Trust is lost. Reputation is lost. Self-respect is lost. You get lost.
I'm sure a lot of people look at Lance and say, "How could he do such a thing?" Maybe we need to be looking in the mirror and asking, "How could I do such a thing?" Because God says of the entire human race, "Their tongues practice deceit" (Romans 3:13).
The spotlight exposing Lance Armstrong's lies spills over and exposes some of our own dishonest ways of getting through life. Especially if you identify what lying really is - the intention to deceive. To mislead...to leave people believing something other than what's true. By exaggerating..."spinning" the facts...covering up...leaving things out...making false promises...telling people what they want to hear.
Oh, we have our reasons. Lance Armstrong said lying was part of doing "anything to control the outcome." We lie to get our way...to get out of a jam...to get people to like us...to get ahead. We deceive our husband or wife. Our family. People at work. Our pastor or the people at church. A boyfriend or girlfriend. The teacher...the doctor...the people we want to impress.
More than we want to admit, the truth is often optional in how we do life. Or at least bendable. And ultimately, we start to lose touch with reality and can't even hear our own lies. Inevitably, we will get caught in the web we have woven.
We may think lying is no big deal. It sure is to God who we'll answer to some day. On the Biblical list of "six things the Lord hates," lying is the only one that appears twice (Proverbs 6:16-19). And He bluntly declares that "no one who practices deceit will dwell in My house" (Psalm 101:7). God is a God of truth. Lying sets God against me. Dishonesty is a very big deal.
God hears lies when everyone else - maybe even the liar - thinks it's the truth. He says the one who "may dwell in (His) sanctuary" is the one "who speaks truth from his heart" (Psalm 15:1-2).
That probing Scripture has given me a "lie detector" question to ask myself throughout the day: "Does what's coming out of my mouth match what's in my heart?" If it doesn't, it's a lie. And Jesus tells me that the devil "is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). That makes lying even scarier.
Years ago, I started praying a prayer that God has been more than faithful to answer. "Lord, set off an alarm in my soul any time I'm saying something that's less than the truth." Asking the Lord for instant conviction of any statement that might be intending to deceive. Followed by instant correction of that statement so I'm speaking the truth from my heart.
It's called walking in truth - holding yourself to the truth in everything. There's no fear of getting caught. You have nothing to hide.