Caught for Truth Spinning

Have you ever spun the truth for any reason?

Children to adults are bound to have practiced truth spinning.

Over thirty-three years ago, I did some truth spinning when I missed an agreed-upon time for a date.

I told the truth about why I was not present at the agreed-upon time while leaving out the details I was late because of a date I had planned with a different person.

Oh, the webs we can weave with partial truth and lies! 

  • What compels us to spin the truth?
  • Is truth spinning something we learn from others or a prime instinct for self-preservation? 

What does this have to do with Genesis 26:8?

When he had been there a long time, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah, his wife. (Gen 26:8 ESV)

Out of context, this verse doesn’t seem to reveal much we should be concerned about.

To understand the danger revealed in this verse, we must return to the prior one when Isaac spins the truth to the men in Gerar where he and Rebekah had recently settled.

When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. (Gen 26:7 ESV)

What lie did Isaac profess?

What was Isaac’s motivation for truth spinning?

Who else in the Bible did this same type of truth spinning? (See Gen 12:10-13 and Gen 20:1-2)

What is the reason given in Gen 12:10-13 for the truth spinning?

How is this reason the same or different from Isaac’s in Gen 26:8?

The Bible never reveals if Isaac was told about his father Abraham’s truth spinning in Egypt and Gerar. Yet, Isaac does the same truth-spinning regarding his wife Rebekah as his father Abraham did regarding Isaac’s mother.

Both Abraham and Isaac feared for their own lives because their wives were beautiful in appearance. Neither inquire of God about their fear, even though both already had a relationship with the Lord before they spun the truth about their wives.

Does this surprise you? Why or why not? 

Where does this propensity to truth spin stem from? (See Gen 3:1-7)

What did Eve fear in Gen 3:1-7?

What reason does Adam give for hiding from God in Gen 3:10?

Who does Adam blame for his eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? (Gen 3:12)

Who does Eve blame for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? (Gen 3:13)

God never questioned the serpent but announces a curse over the serpent for spinning the truth. (See Gen 3:14-15) Adam and Eve also receive consequences for their disobedience. (See Gen 3:16-19

Back to Isaac

Genesis 26:8 opens by saying Isaac had been in Gerar for a long time. It then implies that Abimelech’s observing Isaac and Rebekah’s behavior with each other was merely by chance. 

The ESV translation says Isaac was laughing with Rebekah. 

Remember that the name Isaac means he laughs. The word translated as laughing in Gen 26:8 sounds like Isaac’s name creating a play on words when reading it in Hebrew. 

Yet, given what we learn in Gen 26:7, Abimelech’s observation of this husband and wife “laughing” together is leading to Isaac’s truth spinning being unraveled. More on this next time.

Back to my truth spinning

I too spun the truth about why I was late because I was afraid that my second date of the day would decide our friendship and the potential of what it could become was over.

Thirty-three years plus later, we are married and share and often share my truth-spinning story as part of our answer to the question of how we met. It provides a humorous story, especially when we tell it together.

But what would have been the smarter course of action when I realized I was risking being double booked? Yep, I should have reached out and rescheduled the date instead of attempting to make both and then spin the truth about why I was not home at the designated time.

Personal Application 

Are you ever tempted by fear to spin the truth? Why or why not?

Did you overcome the temptation or succumb like Abraham, Isaac, and me? What happened as a result?

How does truth spinning reveal a lack of trust in God?

Read the following verses.

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (Mat 5:37 ESV)

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (Jam 3:5-10 ESV)

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Pro 12:19 ESV)

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Pro 12:22 ESV)

How can you practice truth-telling as a spiritual discipline? Why is it important?

Going Deeper

What truth-spinning do you do with yourself?

Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, or being unloved? What does God think of you based on Psalm 139?

How can you replace truth spinning toward yourself and others with the truths in Psalm 139?

Share how overcoming the temptation to be a truth-spinner has helped either yourself or someone you know in the comments below.


Barbara Lynn


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