As kids, we had all these little rhymes we'd say on occasion, like the one we used when we caught someone fibbing: "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire". Or maybe the one when the batter was up to the plate and we wanted to distract the pitcher from being able to concentrate on throwing the ball: "We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher". Or the one we used when we wanted the batter to have a less chance of hitting the ball: "Hey, Batter, Batter, SWING". Pointing out that we knew someone was trying to pull one over on us by the "Liar, Liar" one was just kind of our way of letting them know we found them out and we weren't falling for their mischief or prank. Rattling the pitcher or hitter was just a way of trying to stack the cards in our favor when we had a batter up to bat who needed a few "balls" to come there way, or we wanted a hitter to miss the ball! If they didn't get a few balls and an occasional walk, they almost didn't ever get a chance to get on base at all! If the hitters always got a hit, we'd never stand a chance of winning! We didn't have any that I can remember about cheating on a test, looking onto someone else's paper for the answers, or taking credit for someone else's work on a project. Yet, the idea of someone cheating on a test, or taking credit for another's work was just not acceptable in my social circles. It was kind of like an understood "no-no". We didn't poke fun at it because it didn't carry any "fun" in it. Some things we'd overlook because there was "fun" in it - like when someone was trying to pull a fast one on us and see if we'd be gullible enough to believe them. It was childish fun and games, not really intentional deception. If someone made it a pattern to lie about everything, inflating their stories and telling untruths all the time, this was a different matter. We didn't even use our childish rhyme - we avoided them like the plague because they were untrustworthy and unbelievable! The same is often true in life now that we are adults. We avoid those who just don't play fair. We find ourselves avoiding those who are puffed up and kind of into themselves way too much. We find ourselves shying away from relationship with those who just cannot walk a straight path. Why? I think it might be this idea of knowing when it is more than a "childish prank" or "game" being played - it is the real deal and it hurts others. We might "blur the lines" a little when we poke fun at some things which are plainly wrong and then "call out" others which are simply "child's play". We have to clearly distinguish between the two.
The Lord hates anyone who cheats, but he likes everyone who is honest. Too much pride can put you to shame. It’s wiser to be humble. If you do the right thing, honesty will be your guide. But if you are crooked, you will be trapped by your own dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:1-3 CEV)
I am up for a good prank now and again. I like to laugh and find fun in life. I think life is way too short to just live life on the "serious" plane all the time. Anyone who knows me well will also recount a few times here and there when I convinced someone something was a certain way, but in truth it wasn't! It wasn't really me attempting to manipulate the truth so they believed a lie, it was was a little bit of "fun and games" with the other person, meant to make them laugh and take life a little less intensely. The problem with living a little too close to that line between truth and untruth is that sometimes we get these a little blurred, or we soon lose credibility in the eyes of those we have in our circles. I used to play pranks way more frequently than I ever do now. What changed? I saw the potential of what this did in relationships - destroying the core of trust. It got to the point people were always asking me if I was serious or not. At that point, I had to pull back and really take a close look at how I used "humor" and had "fun" with these things. I really didn't want others to have to consider the seriousness (or reality) of my words or actions ALL the time! I am not entirely serious all the time now, but I did find myself pulling away from living life as a "joke-ster" all the time!
I think there are groups of people who will continually live on the plane of untruth and deception. It has become a way of life for them. They almost lack the capacity for honesty any longer because they have become so familiar with the deception they cannot break out of that mode of operation. To get real with these individuals is almost impossible. They are trapped in their deception and need to be broken free of that deception by nothing less than truth. The opposite of deception is truth - the only way to unmask deception is by holding the mask up to the mirror of truth! I don't argue with deception - I just merely hold up the mirror of truth. Nothing reflects back the shallowness of deception more than the truth. The beginning of a cheater's life is merely a choice to be dishonest. The one choice leads to another and then another until a way of life becomes evident. Dishonest actions multiply until there is a lack of control over the times one will choose the deception over the truth. This is the danger in even stepping over the line to begin the action of cheating. Whether it be looking over the shoulder of another to get the answer off their paper, or the look sideways to take in the "splendor" of another's spouse, it is opening the door to greater and greater compromise in one's life.
Perhaps this is why God spends time pointing out the dangers in cheating and making life choices which are based on dishonest means. There is a cyclic trend which leads to the next wrong action. The kids who frequently cheated on tests in my classes might have received passing grades in class, but in life, they lacked the skills those of us who studied actually possess today! We miss out on something when we choose the dishonest way over the truth. We don't have foundation in life. I think this is why God calls this to our attention - because he wants nothing more than to ensure we are on a solid and reliable foundation as we go through life here on earth! This is why God holds up the mirror of truth in our direction all the time - it isn't to make us uncomfortable - it is to redeem us from our folly! Just sayin!