“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20).
Love others by only telling the truth1
Introduction: The Narrow Interpretation of the Ninth Commandment. To some, the Ninth Commandment is a technical sin that is limited to perjury in a court of law. The Ninth Commandment does prohibit perjury. God is just (2 Thess. 1:6; Job 8:3). This means that God cares deeply about divine order and the fair treatment of the accused. He intended a fair and unbiased court system to exist to judge the accused. He also cared so much about protecting the accused, that He requires two or more witnesses to prove a criminal allegation. To ensure the fair treatment of the accused, He prohibits false testimony. For these reasons, witnesses who provide false testimony are subject to severe punishment under God’s law.
The Broad Interpretation of the Ninth Commandment. Others believe that it is wrong to limit any discussion of the Ninth Commandment to technical acts of perjury. With all of the Ten Commandments, God’s intention was not to prohibit only the final and ultimate sin. He also sought to prevent the factors that lead to the most severe sins. Adultery is a perfect example of this. A narrow reading of the Seventh Commandment only prohibits relations between a man and a married woman. Yet, Jesus came to dispel that kind of legalism. He instructed that a mere lustful thought toward someone who is not your spouse is an act of adultery (Matt. 5:28). Thus, God cares that we address the underlying sins that lead to perjury. At its root, the Ninth Commandment in its broadest sense addresses sins of the tongue. This includes all forms of lies. It includes the negligent spreading of lies about another through gossip. It also includes speech that may be truthful yet calculated to hurt another. These are all forms of evil in God’s eyes. Just as God intends to protect a neighbor’s physical property with the Eighth Commandment, He intends to protect a neighbor’s reputation with the Ninth Commandment. Because God wants us to remove all lies in our lives whether they are acts of perjury or not, this study adopts a broad interpretation of the Ninth Commandment. This study examines why God is so offended by lies and gossip. This study also examines the kind of speech that God expects from believers.
God defines bearing “false witness” as lying. In the context of perjury, God sees anyone who provides false statements as treacherous and deceitful. “A truthful witness saves lives, but he who utters lies is treacherous.” (Prov. 14:25). “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.” (Prov. 12:17). By contrast, God calls a truthful witness “trustworthy:” “A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies.” (Prov. 14:5). If God were to pull all of your tax returns signed under penalty of perjury and income statements on any loan applications, would He find any lies?
A truthful witness is critical to God’s administration of justice. Perjury is offensive to God because it undermines His perfect justice: “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” (Dt. 19:15). Have you judged others based upon only one witness? Would you want that standard applied to you?
A broken vow to testify truthfully profanes God’s name. When being sworn in by a court officer or court reporter, a witness typically states a vow to tell the truth “so help me God.” Because the administration of justice is so important to God, God commands that court vows be in His name: “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.” (Dt. 6:13). Yet, Jesus warns us that the consequences of a broken vow to God are so serious that we should be careful in making them (Matt. 5:33-37). When a person gives false testimony after giving an oath under God’s name, that person takes the Lord’s name in vain. God expressly warns perjurers not to “swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God.” (Lev. 19:12). Paul says that you are an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). What kind of ambassador are you for Christ if you are lying? When you lie, how attractive is your light to others?
Lies, gossip, and rumors have the power to inflict evil and pain on another’s reputation. Although you may not realize it, your tongue is a potential weapon that can inflict pain and hurt upon another: “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.” (Prov. 5:18; 25:18). “So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” (Jam. 3:5-6). “A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are like scorching fire.” (Prov. 16:27). “A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Prov. 6:19). When you lie or tell gossip, you hurt others. This is something that God does not call you to do.
When you gossip you may spread lies, even if they are unintentional. Some may draw a distinction between lying and gossiping. But God does not differentiate the two: “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.” (Prov. 26:20; 16:28). (Note: “whisperers” in the NASB are referred to as “gossips” in the NIV). A whisperer or a gossip cannot know if the information he or she is spreading is true or false. A gossiper acts in a negligent manner without concern for the truth of the gossip or the damage to the accused. Most studies find that gossip is the number one type of conversation amongst office co-workers. Do you gossip about others? If you spread gossip, do you try to verify its truth before you spread it? When you spread gossip, what kind of witness are you to others about what it means to be a believer?
Because of the harm they create, God “hates” perjurers, liars, and gossips. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Ps. 111:10). The fear of the Lord is defined as “hating” evil and a “perverted mouth”: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” (Prov. 8:13; Ps. 97:10). Perjury, lies, and gossip are amongst the evil sins that God “hates.” “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Prov. 6:16-19). “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Prov. 22:22). Have you made any false statements or have you spread gossip or rumors to cause God to “hate” your words?
Because of original sin, we have inherent tendencies to lie at even the youngest of ages. As a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, all creation has been cursed (Rom. 8:20; Gen. 3:17). Among the many consequences of this curse, we are all born with the congenital birth defect of being liars: “The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth.” (Ps. 58:3). “You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; and you have been called a rebel from birth.” (Is. 48:8). Without exception, every unsaved person is a liar in God’s eyes: “May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar . . .” (Ro. 3:4). As any parent can attest, no one needs to teach a child to lie. Children lie as soon as they can speak. If you think you are free from lies, what does God think about your opinion? (1 John 1:8).
A person who claims to know Christ, but does not keep His commandments is a “liar.” “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;” (1 Jo. 2:4). “[B]ut if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt. 19:17). Do you think that you are keeping all of Jesus’ commandments in the way that He expects? If you do, what does that make you?
A person who claims to love God but “hates” another is in God’s eyes a “liar.” The Bible warns that: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 Jo. 4:20). According to Jesus, one of the two great commandments is that: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39-40). “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom. 13:8-10). If you say that you love God, but you tell lies or gossip and slander others, what does God think of your love for Him? Are you “loving” people when you are gossiping about them?
When you lie, you have come under Satan’s influence. Satan is the father of all liars. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). Thus, when you lie or gossip, you have placed yourself in communion with the devil.
Things gained through lies are short lived. Satan can only offer counterfeit pleasures: “The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.” (Prov. 21:6). If you gain attention at work or with friends through gossip, is the joy long lasting? Or, do you need to keep telling gossip to gain the interest of these people?
A liar, gossip, or perjury deceives him or herself into believing that God will not hear. “Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; swords are in their lips, for, they say, ‘Who hears?’” (Ps. 9:7). When you gossip or tell “white lies”, do you convince yourself that God does not care about your actions? Have you used His forgiveness as a license to sin?
The false accuser of the brethren is also under Satan’s influence. God called Satan “the accuser of the brethren.” (Rev. 12:10). He seeks to condemn each and every one of us before God (Job 1:6; 9-11; Zech. 3:1). Like Satan, a person who spreads lies, gossip, or slander is called “a fool” in the Bible (Prov. 10:18). Slander, gossip, perjury, and lies are all signs of a “depraved mind” living by the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 1:28-30; Matt. 15:18-19). Thus, we are not to speak ill of one another (Ps. 15:3; 50:19-20; Prov. 6:16-19; Jam. 4:11). When you put down one another through false words or gossip, you are doing Satan’s work for him. He doesn’t even need to lift a finger.
A liar can sometimes deceive with eloquent speech. Unlike other sins, it is sometimes hard to know a liar by his words alone: “His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” (Ps. 55:21). Some of the greatest liars and false prophets in history were those who led others away from the truth with lies. Jesus warns that the false messiah will be so clever with his tongue that he will deceive even the elect (Matt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22). To protect yourself from deceit, you must pray and read the Word on a regular basis (Jam. 1:7; Ps. 110:05).
A perjurer may face criminal or civil punishment. Although God will forgive those who repent, God will not spare a perjurer or liar from the consequences of his or her actions: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.” (Prov. 19:5). Under state or federal law, perjury can be charged as a felony offense with jail time exceeding a year for each act of perjury. Criminal prosecutors, judges, and juries act as God’s appointed “avengers” when they punish perjury in their official capacity (Rom. 13:1-4). Perjury, however, is only rarely prosecuted. Today, perjury in loan applications, insurance claims, during depositions, and during court proceedings is rampant. Are you staying vigilant to avoid even small lies in your dealings with others?
Under God’s law, a perjurer will suffer the same fate as the accused. No law in America punishes a perjurer with the crime of another if a witness gives false testimony. Yet, this is exactly the punishment that God proscribes under His law: “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. Thus, you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Dt. 9:16-21). If we charged a perjurer with the crime of the accused when a person gives false testimony, what might happen to the rate of perjury today?
Lying will defile you, lead you astray and remove God’s shield of protection. Jesus said that lying and being a “false witness” are amongst the things that “defile” a person (Matt. 15:18-19; Rom. 1:28-30). In addition to being defiled; lies, slander, and gossip will also lead you away from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, ‘ . . .Their lies also have led them astray, . . .” (Amos 2:4). Although God will not leave or forsake a believer (Heb. 13:5), He will not “abide” with liars (Ps. 15:1-3; Prov. 10:31). Among other things, God will remove His shield of protection, which is only available to those who take refuge in Him: “Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Prov. 30:5; Ps. 18:30). Yet, God cannot be your shield if you spread lies and gossip: “You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, . . ” (Hos. 10:13). If you want to find the light to guide you in God’s path as opposed to your own deceitful path, you must read His Word (Ps. 110:05). If you don’t have God’s shield of protection, you are exposed to the attacks of the devil (Eph. 6:16).
A liar or perjurers will have God’s hand against them. Even if civil authorities ignore perjury, God will not ignore it: “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, I am against you,’ declares the Lord God.” (Ez. 13:8). If you lie and God promises to be against you, your prayers may also be “hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7; Jo. 9:31). Should you expect His full blessings?
A person who spreads lies through slander and gossip will also lose friends. God also warns that those who spread lies through gossip will lose their friends: “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.” (Prov. 16:28). (Note: “slanderers” in the NASB are referred to as “gossips” in the NIV). (Id.) Have you passed along gossip about others? How would you feel if others did that about you?
For the unsaved, a perjurer who profanes God’s name will also be punished by death. For the unsaved, the penalty for profaning God’s name through perjury brings eternal death: “A false witness will perish, but the man who listens to the truth will speak forever.” (Prov. 21:18). “Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him.” (Lev. 24:16). This applies to both the Jews and Gentiles: “The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Lev. 24:16). “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” (Dt. 5:11).
Unsaved liars are also barred from heaven. For those who might feel confident that they are in no need of God’s mercy and grace because they have never committed perjury in its strictest definition, He warns that His wrath will be poured out upon all of the unsaved who suppress the truth or lie: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish.” (Prov. 19:9). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” (Rom. 1:18). Unsaved liars of any type are barred from the kingdom of heaven. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8). “and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. 21:27). Christ has saved you from your eternal death. You can thank Him by making your life a thank offering (Ro. 12:1).
Those who deny that Jesus is the Christ, will suffer the same fate as other liars. God does not agree to disagree with those who would call Jesus a mere prophet or a good teacher. Those who deny that Jesus is “the Christ” are liars in God’s eyes: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 Jo. 2:22-23). “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom. 1:25). If a family member or friend tells you that we are all entitled to our own opinions about Christ, are you doing that person a favor by dropping the subject?
Unsaved gossipers will be judged by their standards in gossiping. If you pass judgment upon others in your speech through gossip, lies, or simply by being judgmental, you will be judged according to the same standard: “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36-7). Christ has saved you from being judged by your own gossip. If you continue to spread gossip about others, how grateful are you for what Christ has done for you?
God our Father and role model cannot lie. Unlike Satan, “it is impossible for God to lie . . .” (Heb. 6:18). “God . . . cannot lie . . .” (Tit. 1:2). His is also the God of truth: “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.” (Ps. 31:5). Although mankind struggles with honesty and “white lies,” we can give thanks that God does not suffer any of these struggles: “God is not a man, that He should lie, . . ” (Nu. 23:19). God has shared His truth with us through His Word, which we can rely upon (Heb. 6:19). Jesus is the truth incarnate: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Jo. 14:6). He is also the Word that became flesh (Jo. 1:1, 14). If you practice truth and speak no lies, you have come to the Light: “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (Jo. 3:31). Yet, in God’s eyes, if you speak evil you “hate” the Light (Jo. 3:20; 1 Jo. 1:6).
A godly person only speaking the truth. You are to follow the light of truth that Christ leads for you (Jo. 1:4). Christ’s Word and His truth sanctify you: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (Jo. 17:17). If you follow His Light, you also become God’s child, and the Holy Spirit will speak the truth through you: “For He said, ‘Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.’ So He became their Savior.” (Is. 63:8). “A trustworthy witness will not lie . . .” (Prov. 14:5). “He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.” (Ps. 15:3). “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” (Lev. 19:11). “You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” (Ex. 23:1). “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (Eph. 4:25). “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.” (Prov. 2:17). “Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.” (Prov. 24:28). “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.” (Zech. 8:16). “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; for they will feed and lie down with no one to make them tremble.” (Zech. 3:13). If Christ were to look upon a transcript of all your words, would He find that you speak only truths?
A believer who speaks truth from the heart abides with God: Even when saved, if you want God’s Holy Spirit to be in your continuing presence, you must speak only the truth: “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.” (Ps. 15:1-2; Prov. 10:31). By contrast, a liar abides in deceit: ‘“They bend their tongue like their bow; lies and not truth prevail in the land; . . . And they do not know Me,’ declares the Lord. . .. ‘Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; . . . And every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. Everyone deceives his neighbor and does not speak the truth, they have taught their tongue to speak lies; . . . Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me,’ declares the Lord.” (Jer. 9:3-6). Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to be in your presence with truthful words?
A godly person also knows when to be silent and not inflict pain with the truth. You must also be careful not to speak the truth in a way that is designed to hurt others: “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.” (Jam. 1:26). “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.” (Ps. 39:1). “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Ps. 141:3). “[A] babbling fool will be ruined.” (Prov. 10:10). “Wise men store up knowledge, but with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.” (Prov. 10:14). “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Prov. 13:3). When others fall short or make mistakes or drive poorly, do you lash into them with truthful, yet hurtful statements?
A godly person speaks words of praise and healing. Solomon warns that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21), and that “a wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Prov. 15:4). Your tongue was meant to restore others, not to put them down: “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Prov. 2:18). You are to “speak the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” (Eph. 4:15). You are also to speak “only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29). Your goal should be to restore those who are hurt or who have sinned in love: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1). Are your words healing or incendiary to others? When people around you sin, do you gossip about them? Or, do you seek to restore them?
A godly person speaks words of blessings to others. Throughout the Bible, godly people spoke words of blessings to others as an example for us to follow. As a priest, Aaron concluded his prayers by speaking words of blessings to the people (Lev. 9:22-23; Nu. 6:23-26). In a similar way, Isaac blessed Jacob (Heb. 11:20; Gen. 27:27-29; 28:3-4). Paul also spoke words of blessings to others (2 Cor. 13:14). Today, you are part of God’s “nation of priests.” (1 Pet. 2:5). When was the last time that you prayed for God to bless someone who was not a family member or friend?
Let the Holy Spirit be your voice through silence. Jesus was silent when the false charges were leveled against Him (Matt. 26:62-63; Mk. 14:60-61; Lk. 23:8-10; Is. 53:7). Moses never complained when he learned that Miriam and Aaron had slandered him (Nu. 12:5-8). God warns that the gentiles will slander or gossip about you, even when you do good (1 Pet. 2:12). When you “keep a good conscience” in the face of slander or gossip, what does God promise to those who seek to harm you? (1 Pet. 3:16).
Let God avenge the wrongs against you. God says that vengeance belongs to Him alone (Dt. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). Thus, we should not seek to correct the wrongs perpetrated against us. If you want God to protect you from those who speak falsely about you, slander you, or gossip about you, follow David’s example in his cry for help: “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.” (Ps. 120:2). When you try to defend yourself, the ugly sin of pride will likely emerge (Prov. 16:18).
A believer’s lying will be silenced at the time of judgment. Although it is in your human nature to lie, God will at one point put an end to your lies: “But the king will rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him will glory, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.” (Ps. 63:11). “Let the lying lips be mute, which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt.” (Ps. 31:18). “Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.” (Prov. 12:19). As a believer, give thanks that you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Although you may struggle with your flesh now, these verses imply that you will be freed from your desire to lie in your new body in heaven (1 Cor. 15:53). You give thanks for what Christ has done for you by making your life a living sacrifice to Him (Rom. 12:1).
Repenting and speaking the truth will also set you free from guilt. There is no condemnation for those who repent and accept Christ as Lord and Savior (Rom. 8:1). If we speak the truth of Christ out of love, we will be set free from guilt: “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jo. 8:32). If you are weighted down by guilt of prior lies and gossip, repent and Christ will set you free from your guilt (1 Jo. 1:9).
Pray for God to root out lies in your heart. As a new creation in Christ, you must pray for God to purify you of the lies that lie within your heart: “Two things I asked of You, do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, . . .” (Prov. 30:7-8). “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.” (Ps. 120:2). Isaiah feared when he was in God’s presence because: “I am a man of unclean lips.” (Is. 6:5). The flying seraphim then used a burning coal to purify his lips. (Is. 6:6-7). Are you praying for God to cleanse your mouth?
Purge evil words from your tongue. God also expects your conduct to change with the mercy and grace you have been given and in response to the power He gives you through prayer. “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,” (Col. 3:9). “Therefore, lay aside falsehood . . . (Eph. 4:25). “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth . . ” (Eph. 4:29). “Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the Lord.” (Zech. 8:17). If you continue to lie, slander, or speak hurtful words, do you really appreciate God’s mercy and grace?
A repentant nation must also root out a culture that accepts lying. Isaiah once lamented a similar culture of pervasive lies and deceit that was open and tolerated in the nation of Israel: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.” (Is. 59:14). God will not accept the nation of Israel until “the remnant of Israel will not wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths . . .” (Zeph. 13:12-13). In the book of Revelation, God says that “no lie was found in their mouth . . .” amongst the surviving 144,000 Jews (Rev. 22:15). He also warns that there are “curses” (not eternal damnation) for those who fail to follow His Law (Lev. 26:14-37; Dt. 27:15-26; 28:15-68). Conversely, He promises “blessings” (not salvation) for those who follow the Law motivated by love and devotion (Lev. 26:3-13; Dt. 28:2-14; Ex. 15:26). Should our nation expect God’s blessings if lying is rampant at work, in commerce, and the law?
Forgiveness allows you to be forgiven. If someone has lied, gossiped or slandered you, Jesus says that you must forgive that person “up to seventy times seven” times (Matt. 18:22). If a believer does not forgive another believer, God will not forgive the believer: “I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” (Matt. 18:32-35). Have you refused to forgive those who have made false statements, lied, or slandered you?
Pray for those who persecute you. What must you do if a person will not stop lying about you? You must pray for that person: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:43-44). Are you praying for those who persecute you?