In January of 1996 William Safire, noted author and journalist, referred to Hillary Clinton, then first lady of the United States, as “a congenital liar.” This started an exchange in the pundit world with many being outraged by the acidic tone of Safire’s words. Through his press secretary, President Bill Clinton suggested a punch in the nose was in order.
“Liar” is one of those words in our culture that picks a fight quickly. It brings into question one’s integrity, one’s honesty. But is there any truth to William Safire’s statement? Not just about Mrs. Clinton, but what about Mr. Safire? What about you, and me?
Consider the cry of the psalmist, “I said in my alarm, ‘All men are liars.’” (Ps. 116:2) Or the apostle Paul’s referencing of other psalms to establish the universal guilt of humanity with regard to sin. Speaking of all of us, Paul writes with precision, “’Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’ ‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’” (Romans 3:13,14)
Truth be known, as God sees the human race, we are all marked by the inability to speak the truth consistently. The Lord God established the importance of truth speaking in the ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness.” Bearing false witness, declaring falsehood and lies, is part and parcel of what it means to be a sinner. (more…)