Lies Have Short Legs

One with a twisted mind will not succeed, and one with deceitful speech will fall into ruin.—Proverbs 17:20

Both the universe and ourselves are made for truth and honesty, and both the universe and ourselves are alien to untruth and dishonesty. The universe is made for the same thing as we are—namely, righteousness. Not only the face of the Lord but the face of the universe is set against those who live below its standards.

I know that this may sound somewhat hollow in an age that appears to thrive on dishonesty and corruption, but I stand by it nevertheless. The universe is not built for the success of dishonesty and corruption. A lie breaks itself upon the moral universe, perhaps not today, not tomorrow—but certainly at some point in the future. The Tamils of South India have a saying: “The life of the cleverest lie is only eight days.” The Germans have a saying: “Lies have short legs.” During the Second World War, they adapted that saying to, “Lies have one leg.” That was because Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister, had one short leg.

A passionate antagonist of Communism is reported to have said: “In our fight against Communism we are handicapped by our decency and honesty.” Since when were honesty and decency handicaps? Rather, Indecency and dishonesty are handicaps; they bring us into bondage—inwardly and outwardly. Governments, organizations, and institutions that practice dishonesty will be broken from within. History has proved that. The Roman Empire collapsed not from without but from within—broken upon the rock of its own corruption. Believe me, no one gets away with anything in a moral universe. No one.


Gracious Father, I don’t want my moral joints to creak with dishonesty, so dwell deeply within me by Your Spirit and lubricate them with the oil of Your honesty. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Lk 12:1-12; 1Co 4:1-5; Nm 32:23; Eccl 12:14

What will happen when the Lord comes?

What can we be sure of?

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