THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
The truth seems to be in short supply today. As a result we live in a time when there is little trust in the words of others, be they politicians, salesmen, lawyers, car repairmen or even our spouses. Pa on Little House on the Prairie would give his word and stuck by it. Everyone knew he would honor what he said. And he wasn’t unique in that characteristic. We have come a long way from the time when a man’s word was his honor. Yet honesty is important for any nation, any church or organization, any family or any relationship to thrive. Its so important God included it in His Ten Commandments. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).
That God hates lying is clear from Scripture (Proverbs 6:16-19; 14:5; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 21:8; etc.). Satan was the firsts liar and is the father of lies (John 8:44). When we lie, we are being just like him and he loves it! Tempting us to lie is very fruitful for him. Parents teach their children not to lie from when we are young. Yet lying is something that is commonly done. It is an easy way to avoid negative consequences, to create or protect an illusion of who we are, to get what we want or to gain control of a situation. Lying is very easy to do, a strong temptation to many.
Yet Exodus 20:16 clearly forbids lying. This commandment focuses especially on lying under oath – perjury. Unfortunately that is no longer a big deal today because it has gotten very common. It’s nothing new. False witnesses were used against Jesus during His trial (Matthew 26:59-60). To the Jews it was important to give “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” In fact, God’s law said that if someone gave false testimony in court that person would be punished with whatever penalty would have been inflicted upon the person against whom he gave the wrong testimony (Deuteronomy 19:16-21).
God not only forbids perjury; He forbids any kind of lying. Deliberate, premeditated lies, such as Jacob used to deceive his father into thinking he was Esau, are also forbidden. Large or small, black or white – there is no difference. A lie is a lie.
Sometimes things that are said are not direct lies, but are meant to misinform and deceive. They purposely mislead. We allow others to believe that which is not true. Joseph’s brothers never said he was killed, they just showed their father a torn, bloody coat and asked him what could have happened to cause this. They never lied in what they said, but all they did was deceptive and therefore a lie.
Keeping quiet when you know the truth is also deceptive and a lie. Keeping silent is a crime God will not overlook (Leviticus 5:1). Slander is another form of lying as well. Gossip, rumor, innuendo all are deceptive. Romans 1:29 lists slander as one of the marks of a depraved lifestyle. Potiphar’s wife was guilty of this when she falsely accused Joseph of attacking her.
Even flattery is condemned in the Bible when it is insincere or done to manipulate. God warns against those who lie with flattering lips (Psalm 12:2-3). Insincere compliments, buttering someone up, is deceptive and dishonest. Careless exaggeration is likewise deceptive and dishonest. Salesmen, politicians, even preachers are guilty of this sin. Things are promised which are known to be untrue. That’s a lie.
The worst kind of sin of lying, though, is lying to God. How do we lie to Him who knows our heart? When we make a promise or commitment to Him and don’t keep it, we are lying. Ecclesiastes 5 says it is better to not make a vow than to make a vow and then break it. Have you ever made any promises or commitments to God which you haven’t been keeping? Ask Him to forgive you and do whatever is necessary, right now, to carry through on what you said. Lying is a sin, especially lying to God. (May 30, 2022 Doylestown, PA)
John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
When are you most tempted to lie or deceive? What can you do to have victory over it?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
Copyright © 2022