Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…
Please pray with me…
When we look back in our history, we all have certain events in our childhoods that we remember more than others. We remember them for several reasons. It might be that they were exciting or happy or even sad. These were experiences that helped to mold and shape us into who we are today. We remember them because they were big days in our lives.
And then there are those memories that, when we look back, they really weren’t all that important but we remember them anyway. For instance, I remember drawing a weird figure on a piece of paper in seventh grade that I told a friend I would always remember. It wasn’t a special shape and it wasn’t a particularly special day, but because I said I would remember it, I always have.
One such memory is not a very good one. It was the day that, way back when I was five years old, my friends told my dad that I had lied when I hadn’t. No matter how I pleaded my case, my father wasn’t going to hear any of it and he punished me. It was probably only a little swat on the backside and being sent to my room, but I remember that day as if it were yesterday because I was wronged with a lie. I remember it, not because it was a special day, but because of how unfair it seemed.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that relies, many times, on false foundations. We have leaders in our government, business, education and even religion who have built themselves up based on false testimony. In fact, I’m sure none of us can say we haven’t lied. We “stray from the truth” without feeling the guilt of telling an out-and-out lie. We allow ourselves little white lies convincing ourselves they aren’t as bad, and thereby somehow acceptable. So, is there a good lie? A lie that is acceptable?
Most people understand that the commandment not to bear false witness is about our interaction with others in a trial setting, but there is much more to this commandment then simply testifying against another person. This commandment also condemns gossip which leads others to believe a lie, following the world instead of testifying to the truth, following our perverted culture and its worldly values which counter God’s values.
When the church accepts homosexual marriage, they are bearing false witness to the truth in their attempts to blend into society. When our government accepts abortion they bear false witness to the truth of when life truly begins. When laws are passed to let anyone go into any bathroom stall they wish simply by claiming they are something that they clearly aren’t, we bear false witness to God’s creation.
And, in case you haven’t noticed, we are in the midst of a very nasty and bitter presidential campaign. On either side, we see our possible future leaders bearing false witness. On the one side we see someone who has clearly lied in very dangerous and criminal ways about her dealings as our Secretary of State, yet she is the front-runner to be President of the United States.
On the other side, we see a candidate who will seemingly say anything, no matter how hateful, to get elected. He embellishes the truth and manipulates the facts and, most shockingly, it seems to be working.
It’s come to the point that we expect our leaders to lie because it happens so often. Both parties blatantly stray from the truth about seemingly every issue. They distort, twist and warp the facts without so much as batted eye.
Now, before we start wagging fingers, let’s also be honest about the truth. You see, if you perpetuate the lie or even ignore it, you’re as guilty as the liar themselves. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and judge but is that what we are called to do. No, our calling is to stand up for the truth. Yet we look at things changing for the worse in our culture and we as Christians are doing very letting to change it. Sure we complain with the best of them, but we do it in the comfort of our living rooms and churches. Who will stand up against all the false testimony that is condemning us where it will make the most difference if not us?
So as the election cycle progresses, a blanket of mistrust is covering this nation and from it a layer of hate we haven’t seen since the 60s. We are in very dangerous times. Yet the problem with this commandment is not limited to the United States. No, it’s much bigger than that.
All around the world we are being flooding with untruths and deception. Everyone trying to get the upper hand by any means possible. Hypocrisy is infecting the whole Christian church and it seems the world is headed for its greatest crisis yet. An event so terrifying that Jesus Christ felt the need to warn His disciples. Jesus says in Mathew 24:4-5: “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name saying, “I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”
We look at our world and we see many false Christs advertising their various virtues. Man-made Christ’s promising salvation for the right price. False prophets spewing false doctrine to satisfy worldly desires. People claiming the name of the one true God yet acting as if they have never known Him.
With determination and supreme purpose, God established His Ten Commandments and included within these commands, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” This was a command to preserve those things within any relationship that are so vital, love and trust.
Within this commandment lies the structure for preserving family relationships, marriage relationships, business relationships and every other relationship under the sun. Within this commandment lies the structure for honoring God’s holy name and reputation. Within this commandment lies the protection against the lies, slander and gossip so prevalent in society. A thief comes at night to steal but our false witness steals at all times of the day or night. Little tongues shattering lives by their lies.
When we stop and take the time to think of what the breaking of this commandment has done to our world, it’s shocking. Untold human suffering and damage caused by people who only thought of themselves and their causes first. Proverbs 10:18 warns us, “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.”
James tells us in chapter 3 of his letter, “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.
The damage of false testimony is widespread and we can all see what it is doing to our country. We are told to stand for the truth but it seems those of the world really don’t know what truth to stand for. Our politically correct ways have shaded the truth so much we don’t know what truth is anymore. Is a man a woman if he claims to be, even though he has the anatomy of a man? Is a white person really a black person if they associate themselves more with black people than white people? Is killing an unborn fetus really murder if it hasn’t been outside the womb yet? It baffles the mind how we could have gone so far from reality and still call it reality. It’s like an episode of the Twilight Zone. False testimony is killing society as we know it because there really is no truth anymore to so many people.
Consider the personal damage that is being causes by false testimony in marriages. Custody battles built on lies that damage the children more than the parents. These poor children become scarred for life simply because one parent or the other wanted the upper hand. Innocent people put to death because of the lies of someone who might have wanted revenge or who pins the blame on someone else to escape execution themselves.
Consider our own plight as Christians. Sin came into the world through the false testimony of the serpent and Jesus Christ was killed based on false testimony from false witnesses.
Let’s face facts. Breaking the 8th commandment has cultivated attitudes of suspicion, hopelessness and uselessness in society so much so that we just as soon give up then try to change anything. We are all paying a great price because of the lies of our fathers yet it seems as if its progressed to far to have any hope of change.
Yet, our God is bigger than even this. Something can be done and with God it will be done if we are committed enough to see it through. First, we must come to understand the enormity of the problem. Why do people lie? Why is revenge such a stimulating emotion? Why does vanity seem too often to win over reality? King Solomon recognized the problem when he said, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Every sin has its root in vanity and bearing false witness could be its poster child.
Man and women lie first and foremost because they put themselves first above all else. The benefit of others is rarely considered. They avoid the truth because it paints an ugly picture of them so they try to pretty it up with lies, gossip and slander. When it comes down to crunch time, God’s will for us is packed away in favor of more worldly rewards. And this has been happening since the very beginning of time. The serpent lies to Eve. Cain lies when God asked Him about Able by withholding the truth. Delilah lies when she wants the better of Samson. David lies to Uriah the Hittite so he may take advantage of his wife Bathsheba. Judas lies by living a life he didn’t believe. False witnesses lie and it condemns our Savior.
Why do humans so easily give in to the temptation to lie? Some so much that they can’t seem to live without at least embellishing the truth. It’s because in every ear there is the voice of the father of all lies, the devil himself. In a world that seems to have lost its belief in Satan and hell, he thrives because of the ignorance and our lying ways give proof to his power.
From that day in the garden until now, the devil has been filling God’s people with lies to turn them from their righteous ways towards the sins of vanity and deceit. He promises you everything and laughs as you crumble because of his trickery. He leads you to the wide path of destruction all the while convincing you his way is the best way. He broadcasts a spirit of discontent, disobedience and disunity and we fall for it nearly every time because his lies make it seem to be something its not.
We can see that his lies have even effected the church. So many living religious lies – the most dangerous kind of lying, because it leads the very people they want to save down the path of destruction all the while promising a greater reward.
The 8th Commandment requires us to speak the truth in all areas of our lives and to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to all who are willing to listen. Jesus said in John 14, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me.” It is the goal of the Son of Man to save all of creation from the lies the devil leads them to.
He died so that truth might be victorious. He died so that His truth could rule in people’s hearts and minds forever. He died so that we might be His hands and feet and voice in this world. Hands and feet and voices of truth sharing the good news of Christs victory over sin and death. The 8th Commandment demands that we come to acknowledge this truth in all sincerity and honesty. Do you believe in this or are you too lost in the devils lies to understand?
We must all come to that place of dependence on the God and Creator of the universe. We must recognize Him as our only way of salvation from this world that has abandoned Him. We must be converted to the only truth that will save us and we must take as many as we can with us to paradise all the while standing for the truth openly and honestly. To live any other way is to perpetuate the lies we have too often found ourselves victims of. Jesus said in John 8, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
We must live for truth and abandon the lies, even the little white ones. If we persist in our lies, we can expect our hope to fade as we become more twisted in deception and there is enough Christians already claiming to be something they really aren’t. We must free our minds from the vanity that so often lets us down and think more with a clear mind focused only on Christ and Him crucified. It is said, “A man is only as good as His word.” What kind of man or woman do you want to be?
The Word of God reveals what is acceptable in His eyes and He has made it clear what type of person he expects you to be, a person of honesty and integrity. Live as though loving God were the only thing that was truly important in your life because, by loving God, you come to once again love those he gave you in a more godly and righteous way. A way that always bears the truth.
Live as if there were no value in life apart from God because then you will be living in truth. When our lives have eternal significance they become significant to those around them. God has great plans for each and every one of us, but to reach the goal, truth must always prevail.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world and we are children of that light. That light shines on truth and God has commanded that that light might shine on all men so that they might be drawn to it like bugs to a zapper. This kind of life is only possible to those who hold to the truth of God’s holy Word, the only place where pure truth can be found.
May God always lead you to truth and may no false witness ever cross your lips. May you accept the offer from a loving God to give you the salvation He has promised you. Walk by faith and not by vanity, looking with expectation for God to rule in your hearts and shine through your life. Amen