Lies, Elections, and Forgiveness


Prof. William Wagner

WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU

An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies... Proverbs 12:17 (NIV)

Everyone knows the apocryphal tale of George Washington confessing to cutting down the cherry tree.  As the story goes he tells his father, “I cannot tell a lie…”  Well, truth be told, during the Revolutionary War, he told he told some whoppers to advance the American cause.

Lies and Elections

Today politicians still seek to advance the American cause. And yes, they still lie and use deception to do so.    Every election season, deceptive push polls and attack ads make it almost impossible to learn the truth about a candidate. This is particularly true in the Primary.  When our friends run against each other, it’s less clear who to support than when candidates of different parties engage in battle.  Because it is less clear, to win the Primary our friends too often lie and engage in deception, all the while aware of the associated cost of doing so. Egos get bruised. Feelings get hurt. Revisiting the hurt, refuels the fury. Bitterness takes root.

After a Primary, opposing friends must unify to succeed in the general election.  This year, that will require a fair amount of forgiveness. Friends must not let a bitter root to take hold.

The Bible instructs:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14

Washington’s contemporaries, and history, tend to forgive the untruths he told.  Will our friends running against each other in the Primary do so as well?


About the Author

Prof. William Wagner
WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU
Professor Wagner holds the WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at Spring Arbor University. He has a special interest in building and preserving environments where Christians may share the Good News of Jesus, free from persecution and oppression.

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