10 C's #9: Lying, perjury and slander, part a

The penultimate command of the ten says,
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16 (NIV)
Notice it doesn't say you shall not lie. I think there is good reason for that, which I will come back too. The key question I ask myself is, what situations would I find myself tempted to give false testimony against my neighbor? Immediately, I remember a traumatic scene from my childhood when I was 6 and my brother was 3. I had broken a house rule and the violation was quickly discovered by my mother. This violation was of the hands-on discipline kind. When my mother asked in frustration who committed the crime I immediately blamed my brother, who was unable to muster a reasonable defense. I then ran behind a door and peaked through a crack witnessing the punishment I should have received. My perpetration of injustice in that instance destroyed any inclination to ever lie again. Lying is not one of my struggles. Judgmentalism toward those who don't value integrity as I do is one of my struggles.

Some of us have been given promises that have never been fulfilled. This is a false testimony. Of course the person making the commitment never took an oath when making the commitment but Jesus said the oath is ridiculous anyway, even evil.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Say what you mean and mean what you say Anything more than this is from the evil one. Matthew 5 (HCSB)
Jesus' point is to not make rash vows to God. Do what we say we'll do. Don't give a testimony that is false. Don't make a commitment that is flippant or not possible. We are tempted to tell someone, Yes, just to make them leave us alone. That's a false testimony.


Popular Posts