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Pay the Price

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A lie, no matter how small it is, always costs.

Bob Harris, weatherman for New York television station WPIX-TV and the nationally syndicated independent network news, had to weather a public storm of his own making in 1979. Though he had studied math, physics, and geology at three colleges, he left school without a degree but with a strong desire to be a media weatherman. He phoned WCBS-TV, introducing himself as a Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia University. The phony degree got him in the door and after a two-month tryout, he was hired as an off-camera forecaster for WCBS. 

For the next decade his career flourished. He became widely known as "Dr. Bob." He was also hired by the New York Times as a consulting meteorologist. The same year, both the Long Island Railroad and then Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn hired him. Forty years of age and living his childhood dream, he found himself in public disgrace and national humiliation when an anonymous letter prompted WCBS management to investigate his academic credentials. 

Both the station and the New York Times fired him. His story got attention across the land. He was on talk shows, in magazines, and on a host of news programs. He thought he would lose his home and never work in the media again. Several days later the Long Island Railroad and Bowie Kuhn announced they would not fire him, then WNEW-TV gave him a job. He admits it was a dreadful mistake on his part and doubtless played a role in his marital problems. “I took a shortcut that turned out to be the long way around, and one day the bill came due. I will be sorry as long as I am alive.”

I’m sure Mr. Harris never thought that one lie could ruin his life. One false statement to simply get a job cost him years of experience and hurt his family as well. Where once he was a public figure people trusted to deliver their news, he lost all credibility and was forced to start his career over again.

One little lie never seems like it will do much damage when it is first told. Maybe you call it a fib, a white lie, or even a joke. But no matter what you call it, a lie is a lie.

Proverbs 14:5 states God’s desire plainly when it says, “A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.” God doesn’t want you to lie for any reason! Even if it seems like nothing, lying can build and soon become a mess in your life.

Have you ever caught yourself making an excuse for lying? Perhaps it was to help someone else or to make yourself feel good. But don’t allow the devil to belittle lying! It is a sin and God desires that we abstain from it. The next time you are tempted to tell a “small lie,” remember that God says a faithful witness will not lie.


Source: Daily in the Word, October 3, 2009

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