This is a series on the “Decalogue” or “Ten Commandments” these are found in the second book of the bible Exodus in chapter 20. Moses receives these words from God on top of the mountain and he receives the commands on two tablets. The first tablet contains the instructions for man’s relationship with God. We pick up the account in the eighth verse of chapter twenty where we see the fourth of the Ten Commandments.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
What does “false witness” mean?
Well many view it the same as lying, but it is a little more than that. Lying is a good place to start though. When you deliberately do not tell the truth it is the worst Christian witness. It destroys your credibility, makes you untrustworthy and when you are found out then it is simply embarrassing.
Have you ever told a lie that someone took seriously? If so you will realize that in order to cover up that original lie you are going to have to tell another, often times that is not the end of the lying and assuming you are not fortunate enough to be found out or called out on it then it is going to explode in your face and dependent on the level of the deceit will be the level of repercussions.
Deceit and cheating
We all want to have more and this could fall under stealing or lying, I put it in lying but it could equally apply to both. I am consistently surprised when I see people who cheat or attempt to deceive in order to achieve a better situation financially.
An example of this was one of my favorite Creation scientists, a man who had an awesome ministry and is now in jail for doing so. His name is Dr. Kent Hovind, he was found guilty of evasion of taxes in the State of Florida and almost lost his dinosaur theme park. He has spent the last ten years in jail for his crimes.
Don’t get me wrong, if it was possible to cheat on your taxes and get away with it, if you suffered from greed then it would be very tempting to get ahead by dishonest measures, but we are not called to that, we are called to be salt and light and be an example to the world in doing things right.
Exaggeration is where we start off with something that was the truth and the story is retold and the truth is extended or manipulated to a state that what is relayed is no longer truth. Exaggeration is tough because in many cases it is based on real events and started off with a truthful account.
However as time has gone on, and either by the retelling of the story or the emotions of the story teller (or perhaps the egging on of bystanders who have been part to the storytelling and really should not be involved) the story gets pulled like Stretch Armstrong and if you were to look at the truth and the retelling on a retelling you would not believe they are the same story.
Slander is where you take what you have heard from someone and spread it around without doing due diligence to check the facts out beforehand. It is the passing on of a rumor before checking it is correct; it is the judging of someone without knowing if they were involved.
It is also the exaggeration of how someone was involved in something. Unless you invent the slander, often times you are simply a conduit in helping the slander be spread around. Slander tends to be something juicy or something that would cause maximum embarrassment or discomfort should it get out.
We should not be involved in slander, if we feel that we need to have it confirmed then verify with either the person or a trusted source where you can get both sides of the story, should the story be correct then we shouldn’t gossip.
Gossip is the same as slander except that it is sometimes true; it is the broadcasting of information that may cause harm or discomfort to someone. It maybe that someone you know ended up on the news and you did all you could to get the word out. Whilst this is not actually lying, it still is harmful to the person who you are defaming.
When you know the truth about someone but you refuse to speak up on behalf of those you know are being lied about. You may be quiet for various reasons, hatred, popularity, other motivations such as it maybe to your advantage if that person is defamed.
Whatever the reason, you are as guilty as the liar if you do not defend someone when they are being wronged. If you sentence someone to have their reputation smeared or do not cause to deliver them from trouble because you were too weak or unwilling to speak up, then you are as culpable as the one who lied in the first place.
I was victim of this when I bought my car, I trusted the person I bought it from and from the pre-sale negotiations the sales guy knew that I had a baby and the reason for the car purchase was because we required a car with air condition, the man was questioned regarding the reliability of the car and he had given us all the “right answers”. So we buy the car and about 9 months later we find out the car had been in a wreck. The a/c was shot and we had to drive around California in a summer that reaches 110F with a car with no a/c.
Now that is a bad situation! But we do this on a smaller scale ourselves. Let’s use the example of something bad that you don’t want to tell your spouse, so you shelve it for a day, a day becomes a week and then a few weeks later you are caught out because she finds out and you realize your sin because you are lying because you have it declared it. You have withheld the truth and created a secret. Whatever way you look at it, lying is the only honest description!
Paul states in his letter to the Colossian church…
Colossians 3:7 (ESV) In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Verse 9 is the meat and bones here where we are told “9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices”
We are human, we are sinners and we mess up, we let our tongue run away with us and “out of the mouth the heart speaks” Let me tell you, as one who has lied and has got away with it, and also as someone who has lied and been caught out. It is not a good place to be. It is embarrassing and you feel about an inch tall.
Jesus was a victim
Let is not forget that our LORD Jesus was slandered, lied about, gossiped about, had his reputation exaggerated and when he was sentenced to death on a cross he was lied about during his trial, he was slandered and sent to death as an innocent man, so please do not think that lies are not harmful.
My exhortation is that we should ALWAYS be honest with each other, in life, in family, in employment in ministry and in every aspect of our lives. That is the only way to build trust with one another and truly love one another.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.