“Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16
We understand this command to be given in the Old Testament and in regards to untruthful testimony in the court. Even as I type this, I smile at the thought of the many who place their hands on a Bible that they do not believe in and swear to tell the truth.
I was getting side tracked. 🙂 The point is that this command has application for today. “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 (Colossians 3:9-10).” Yes, it would include court testimony but also slander, gossip, idle talk, false accusations, deliberate exaggerations, etc.
These are interesting times in which we live. A time when people are making a turn from God’s moral laws to laws created by self and endorsed by others (as long as they do not effect me). Truth is relative to people and circumstances. It certainly helps me to understand why the all-wise God knew that we need moral laws.
My, my, my…we live in a time when lies, deceit, excuses, and the new one – alternative facts abound! Please don’t misunderstand, this is not a political comment, although it is very much true in today’s political arena. As I meditated on it, in many cases, the reason or purpose of the lie, deceit, excuse, alternative fact usually routes back to self. This helps us to understand that lies and deceit can be harmful to not only ourselves but our family, neighbors, community, churches and the world. Jesus told us in Matthew 5, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.“
We will do well to embrace this command, let’s remember that the Lord has told us that He “delights in truth in the inward being (Psalm 51:6).” When the inward being is one of truth, the outward will be as well. Perhaps this says to us that if any part of us is a habitual, practiced false testimony, lie, deceit- we need to spend more time in the Word and prayer to seek a deeper, more personal and intimate relationship with the Lord that bears the fruit of righteousness, both in position (the cross) and practice (how we live these new lives Jesus died to give us to His glory).
“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand. Exodus 23:1
Hiding hatred makes you a liar; slandering others makes you a fool. Proverbs 10:18
An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. Proverbs 12:17
A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed. Proverbs 19:9
Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them. Proverbs 2:28
They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Titus 3:2
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. James 4:11
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 1 Peter 2:1
16 There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16-19
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25