When is Lying Bad?
Exodus 20:16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
As we continue our journey through the commandments we find ourselves stopping at one that is very familiar and sadly also one that is held with little to no regard among our world today. Truth is considered relative and yet the Bible doesn’t teach that at all.
The reason that truth is considered relative is because we live in a culture where the focus is on the desired outcome instead of the standard of measurement. It is becoming more and more common that lies are accepted and labeled in different ways. We may think that it is just a small lie so we call it a fib or a white lie. But does that make it any less of a lie? And what is the reason for telling a lie? Are we ashamed of the truth? Afraid to get into trouble if we tell the truth? If we are afraid or ashamed who are we trying to protect? We are probably protecting ourselves and maybe those who are in it with us. How does a lie detract from our worship? Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. If Jesus represents truth who are we representing when we lie? In today’s reading Jesus says that the devil is the father of lies. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be looked at as one of his descendants!
Today’s commandment specifically speaks about giving a false testimony against another person – that is to lie about them. Why would this make the list of the law? Let’s think about it for a minute. Why would you have reason to lie about someone? Could it be that it is to make yourself look good? Maybe it would be so that the person you are telling the lie to would take your side against the other person. Maybe it is to gain in popularity. No matter the reason can you see how telling a lie about someone is self-serving?
In Proverbs it says that God hates lying lips and one who lies about someone else (Proverbs 6:16-19). That seems kind of harsh doesn’t it? But could it be that it sounds harsh because we don’t think lying is as bad as God says it is? God has high standards and if He is our number one then our standards should be high too. We should be agreeing with Him on what is wrong. So maybe today is the day that we need to have the hard look at ourselves and see where we stand on lying. Do we think it is acceptable as long as it isn’t “too” big a lie? Or does it make us sick because it goes against God and reflects self-worship instead of worship of the Almighty God?
Making It Personal
Does it bother you when someone lies to you? What is a lie that you have told that you now feel you shouldn’t have said? Have you lied to yourself about how bad lies are?
Making It Personal Kids
What is a lie? Have you ever told one? Is truth always the best way?
Father, forgive us for the times we have lied to ourselves about how lying is a sin that You hate. Please give us a hunger for the truth and may we be known as truth tellers. In Jesus’ name, amen.