Sermon quotes on lies/lying

W.H. Auden

Our race would not have gotten far,

Had we not learned to bluff it out

And look more certain than we are

Of what our motion is about.

 Reflections in a Forest, Homage to Clio, Random House.

Augustine of Hippo

Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves.

Brené Brown

Our rational, grown-up selves are good liars.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (New York: Random House, 2015), 86.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.


Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself.

The Brothers Karamazov

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.

Eric Hoffer

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

William James

My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items I notice shape my mind.

Rudyard Kipling

Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.

Mike Martin

Evading self-acknowledgment of our faults enables us to avoid painful moral emotions: guilt and remorse for harming others; shame for betraying your own ideals; self-contempt for not meeting even our minimal commitments. We also bypass the sometimes onerous task of abiding by our values and manage to sin freely and pleasurably. We avoid the need to make amends and restitution for the harm we do. And, above all, we maintain a flattering self-image while pursuing immoral ends, often in the name of virtue.

Self-Deception and Morality, pp. 37, 38.

George Orwell

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.    

Gregory Spencer

I believe we all need to reframe our stories, at least parts of them, in order to heal, to discard lies, to move from partial truths to richer, fuller explanations, to see our lives as God sees them.

Reframing the Soul: How Words Transform Our Faith, Leafwood Publishers, 2018.

Andy Stanley

The easiest person to deceive is the person in the mirror. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets: 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Next Move, Zondervan, 2020. 

John Updike

 He wonders if he’s lying. If he is, he is hung in the middle of nowhere, and the thought hollows him.

Rick Warren

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

Dallas Willard

Self-deception is a major part of what defeats spiritual formation in Christ. In self-deception the individual or group refuses to acknowledge factors in their life of which they are dimly conscious. Or even know to be the case, but are unprepared to deal with: to openly admit and take steps to change.

Quoted in Greg Ten Elsof, I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life, Eerdmans, 2009.

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Lies/Lying. 

Follow us on social media: