June 11 Be Truthful

You shall not bearfalse witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 20:16

A Christian should never tell any type of lie. The most familiar kind of lie is saying something that isn’t true. But there are other kinds, such as exaggeration. I once heard the story of a certain Christian man who shared a powerful testimony, but one day he stopped reciting it. When asked why, he said that through the years he had embellished it so much he had forgotten what was true and what he’d made up.

Cheating in school, in business, at work, and on your taxes is a form of lying. So is the betrayal of a confidence, flattery, making excuses, and remaining silent when the truth should be spoken. There’s no place for lying in the Christian life. We are to tell the truth.[1]

20:16 You shall not bear false witness. This commandment forbids damaging the character of another person by making statements which are not true, and thus possibly causing him to be punished or even executed. It teaches respect for a person’s reputation.[2]

16 The ninth commandment calls for sanctity of truth in all areas of life, even though the vocabulary primarily reflects the legal process in Israel (ʿēd šāqer here, or ʿēd šāwʾ in Dt 5:20, and ʿānâ, “to answer” or “give” in response to legal questions posed at a trial). To despise the truth is to despise God, whose very being and character are truth. Certainly the reference to “lying” (kaḥēš) in Hosea 4:2 demonstrates that this commandment has a broad application.

Included in this command is a call to abstain from all lying, deceit, slander, gossip, backbiting, vilification, rash depictions of one’s neighbors, and the like. Instead one must love the truth, be honest, and do all that is possible to protect the good name of one’s neighbor.[3]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 180). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 109). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kaiser, W. C., Jr. (2008). Exodus. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, p. 483). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


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