Q: Why do some people make a habit of stretching the truth a bit, even when they don't have to? I have a friend like this, and while I enjoy her company, I know I can't really trust everything she says (for example, when she's bragging about her family or talking about other people). It's harmless, I suppose, but why does she do it? -- Mrs. R.W.
A: No lie is ever completely harmless, even if it seems so at the time. After all, a lie is meant to deceive, and to convince its hearers that something is true which is actually false. As the Bible says, "No lie comes from the truth" (1 John 2:21).
But a lie not only hurts the person who is deceived by it; a lie also hurts the one who tells it. I'm thankful you have remained a friend to this person; you may be able to help her in the future. But your friendship is a cautious friendship; you know you can't trust her completely (and so do other people). One of the Ten Commandments says, "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). The Bible also says, "Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor" (Ephesians 4:25).
Why do people lie? Often they lie in order to conceal something -- a wrong they've done, or a personal failure. But sometimes a person lies in order to build themselves up in the eyes of others. Down inside they may feel insecure, or they want to make people think they're important -- and so they "stretch the truth."
Pray for your friend, that she won't only realize what she's doing, but will also give her life to Christ. Pray too that God will help you to know how to help her.
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2017 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.