“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)
The truth can be difficult – telling it, hearing it, living according to it, accepting that someone else has a different version of it than you do. As Christians, we seek to know God’s truth. Indeed, “the sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160).
So why is lying so easy? Why would people rather be polite than truthful? Simply, we take risks when we tell the truth. We risk losing relationship and reputation. We risk making others uncomfortable. We may risk revealing truth in a situation where another person has gone to great lengths to make sure the truth is covered up. But don’t we take the same risks when we lie? By lying we risk alienating those we love, we risk our integrity, and ultimately we risk our relationship with God.
Satan is the author of all lies. His conversation with our original parents in the Garden of Eden began with the ultimate of lies: “Did God actually say…?” (Genesis 3:1b) It is as though this first lie still lives in our subconscious – we may know the truth of God’s word and meditate on it day and night yet still doubt that this truth actually applies to us or the world in which we live. In desperate times we may even twist the Word to suit our own will, hoping that God didn’t really say what we think He said.
Or, most tragically, we may live a life full of lies that were cleverly hidden on the outside by a cloak of good works. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
The women of Grace Chapel were asked “What does the eighth commandment reveal about God?” Here are some of their answers:
- We are representatives of God and thus show his truth to others by being truthful. It harms the neighbor whom we are commanded to love.
- He is a God of truth and also cares for and watches over all of His creation.
- He loves everyone the same and would not want one of His children spoken wrongly of.
- He is true and does not tolerate falsehood.
- God cares very much how we treat each other.
- Through truth things are meant to be revealed. Lying in a desire to hurt others or protect one’s self is not godly motivation.
For Week 10, please read Chapter 9 on the Ninth and Tenth Commandments. Following are discussion questions to prepare you for our next meeting:
- What do these commandments reveal about God?
- In what ways does advertising create desire?
- What do you think “disordered desire” means?
- Give a past example of envy in your life. What harm did it cause?
- How can the church help us keep these commandments?
- How do these last 2 commandments act as a summary of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments)?