Memorise Exodus 20:16
“Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue”
This next commandment is again another simple one-liner. It reads “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”. More commonly, we understand this as the commandment that forbids us to lie. To ‘bear false witness’ is to raise a false report, especially in a court of law. More broadly speaking, when you bear a false witness, through your words or your actions you give an impression or witness that is contrary to the truth. Our neighbour would be not just fellow Christians, or people in close proximity to us, but all fellow men, as what Jesus taught in the story of the injured man in Luke 10:29-37. Thus this commandment would include all forms of deception or distortion of the truth, of any attempt to manipulate or lead someone away from the truth.
You see, the very nature of God is one of truth. Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us that “He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He”. Because of that, we are told that it is “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18), as that would go against His very character and nature.
Therefore in this commandment God demands the same standards of us. The book of Proverbs lists ‘a lying tongue’ and ‘a false witness that speaketh lies’ amongst the things that God hates and considers an abomination to Him (Proverbs 6:16-19). Numerous other passages in the Bible strongly denounce this sin of lying, and the many manifestations of deception, hypocrisy, dishonesty and duplicity. As children of God, we ought to embody the virtues of honesty and integrity, dealing with everyone in truth and not lies. We ought also to view lies the same way that God views it, to develop a hatred and disgust for it, and pursue after honesty and integrity in our lives.
Dear Teen, are you struggling with this sin of lying? We may know that it is wrong, but yet we often take the option of telling small untruths here and there to take the easy way out of a situation, or to cover up small mistakes we make, or to try to give people a better impression of us. So often we say one thing, but mean something else. Realise that all lies, no matter how big or how small are still lies, and God hates them. The commandment is clear and absolute: we must never bear false witness against our neighbour, ever.
Thought: All lies, big or small are wrong, and cannot be allowed.
Prayer: Lord, may You guard my tongue and lips from this sin of lying.