Strength in Scripture

Don’t Lie – ever!

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How many of you like to be lied to? Perhaps somebody promised you something and then didn’t keep it. Or maybe you were given wrong information that led you to make a decision you later regretted. Whatever the circumstances, I think most of us prefer to be told the truth rather than a lie.

We find the 9th commandment in Exodus 20:16 and it reads: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

One of my favorite commentaries brings to light the wider scope of this commandment: “False speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the countenance, a falsehood may be told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every effort to injure our neighbor’s reputation by misrepresentation or evil surmising, by slander or tale bearing. Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment.”

Did you know that you can lie by your silence? Or with a gesture. Like when you ask a kid, who raided the cookie jar and they shrug their shoulders. That’s a still a lie, even if not a single word is spoken. So we can conclude that this commandment encompasses all forms of communication.

By forbidding or criminalizing false communication, the commandment demands healthy and clear communication—communication of the truth presented in such a way as to be least susceptible to misinterpretation. It requires us to communicate well. In fact, even society recognizes the importance of communication. Businesses, cultures, communities, relationships—thrive in correlation to the quality of their communication.

In order to be truthful, we need to be informed. We need educate ourselves on those things of most importance. All too often, we are taught to rely on other people to provide us with our thoughts. We outsource the decision-making process.

To find truth involves searching. This is how we gain wisdom. We must seek for it with earnestness. Proverbs 23:23 advises us, “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”

We need know and share the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 1 John 2:20 says, “…no lie is of the truth.” Who began the work of deception? Referring to the devil, John 8:44 says “…When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” We find a record of the first lie ever pronounced in Genesis 3:4: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die…” We can see the consequences of that lie. How many millions of people have died because of sin!

Even though we’re in a world, where misinformation abounds, it is possible to know the true reality. In our search for truth, Jesus says, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6). Psalm 33:4 reiterates, “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.”

One of the truths that God’s Word tells us is that we are sinners—and that we will die. But He also tells us that there is hope and a chance to receive eternal life.

Now, one of the first ways in which we need to develop honesty is to be honest with ourselves. Human nature leads us to believe that we are fine. It’s easy to see the defects in others but harder to admit our own mistakes. But in order to receive forgiveness, we need to admit to ourselves and to God where we’ve been wrong.

David gives us a beautiful example of this kind of honesty in Psalms 51:3, “For I acknowledge my transgressions…” and in Psalms 32:5 he says, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.” Believing ourselves to be better than we really are doesn’t help us. So often we do not even acknowledge our own sin to ourselves. We do not believe that we are wrong. But by transparent honesty, we will realize our weakness, be forgiven, and make improvements.

What about talking? Obviously the commandment forbids lying—even little white lies. But what about joking and sarcasm? Sometimes we can get ourselves in trouble for saying things in a light-hearted way only to find out that someone took us seriously. In order to avoid such situations, Christ instructs us: “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

What about our lifestyle? Might we be pretending we are somebody we’re not? Sometimes, people spend more than they can afford just to impress others. Romans 13:13 says: “Let us walk honestly…”

Most importantly, if we claim to be Christians, but our life isn’t really characteristic of Christ, we are lying. 1 John 2:4 reveals, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” To be honest Christians, we must keep the 10 Commandments.

I read an article the other day that put it so well, it said, “Let your music be honest and noble. Let your artistic expression be honest and benevolent. Let your poetry and

your prose be honest and eloquent. Whatever your facial expression, or your body language, or your tongue, or your computer typing, or your clothes, or your sense of style communicates, let it be honest and let it glorify God.”

In conclusion 2 Corinthians 13:7 says: “…do that which is honest…” We are instructed to pray “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2)

To be honest is to state what is truthful when it is convenient and when it is not. Honesty does not mean we should be careless or thoughtless in how we tell the truth. It does not mean we must tell everything we know. Many times silence is the wisest and most honest course. Honesty means we must tell what must be told as kindly and honestly as God helps us to accomplish.

Revelation 14:5 reveals this as a special characteristic of those who will be saved: “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

Let’s cultivate an honest character in God’s strength.

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