I love home groups. There is a closeness and a "prayerfulness" that is special when a small group of Christians meet together on a regular basis. I lead a home group in our church and it is also my responsibility to order new materials for our Bible study when our current book's lessons run out. We are studying I Thessalonians, and we had completed our study guide that went through Chapter 3. I was supposed to order the next set of study guides, but got busy and forgot.

It was time for us to have our next meeting and we didn't have the materials that we needed, so I did a review of a previous lesson. Someone in the group asked me if the new books were in yet. I could have said, "You are correct, they are not in yet." But instead, I had to swallow my pride and embarrassment and say, "No, I forgot to order them."

Some would say I could have let myself off the hook and said they weren't in yet. However, that would have implied that I had ordered them. I hadn't ordered them. I wasn't going to be deceitful to save face. Full disclosure is best. It is right to be open and honest, even if it is painful.

When Ananias and Sapphira brought the money from the sale of their property to make a donation to the church, they would have been correct in saying, "We are donating part of the proceeds of the sale of our property to the church." Instead, they left the impression with everyone that they were donating ALL of the proceeds of the sale to the needy in the church, when in fact they were donating only part of the proceeds. They were deliberately being deceptive to make themselves look better: that's part of the reason why the Lord struck them dead at this crucial point in the early church (Acts 5:1-11).

Deception is a close cousin to lying. Too many times, people say, "I wasn't really lying," when in fact they were deceiving by giving an impression that they knew was not true. God's wisdom reminds us:

Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "I was only joking!" (Proverbs 26:18-19 NKJV)

Deception is a close cousin to lying.
In addition to using deception to keep from looking back, there are other reasons for us to practice deception. People deceive to hurt others. They also deceive to help a friend. Another reason people deceive is to get something they want. Sometimes people deceive to avoid punishment or embarrassment.

As the apostle Paul reminds us, let's put away deception, falsehood and lying, and let "each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one body" (Ephesians 4:25).