Matthew 5.19 cont.
19 Whoever, then should break one of the least of these commandments and should teach men to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall practices and teach them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
As we grow through childhood we have to be taught not to lie, and that the truth will always come out. Perhaps this is said more as a threat than an actual fact, as some live their entire life in some kind of lying falsehood, and it is never discovered.
As children we are tempted to lie in order to escape punishment; as we grow older we may lie in order to shift the blame from ourselves to someone else, or to make ourselves look better than we really are. There are a number of other reasons why we might be tempted to lie.
Some may say that it is kinder to lie than to tell the truth.
What does God say?
As well as the command not to lie about our neighbour, God’s word also tells us:
The LORD detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful – Proverbs 12.22 (NIV).
Lying is something that God hates.
The commandment of God is that we must not give false testimony about our neighbour. The question is: who is our neighbour?
Jesus very clearly gave us the answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In that story it is the most unlikely person who was the neighbour to the one who had been mugged and robbed, being left half dead. The Samaritans and Jews had nothing to do with each other and despised each other. Yet it was the Samaritan who came to the Jews aid and proved to be his neighbour.
The Hebrew for neighbour can also be translated as ‘another person’.
The command of God is that there is no room for lying about anyone else. Amongst the Jews there had to be at least two witnesses whose testimony agreed about someone who was standing trial, especially for murder. We know that at the trial of Jesus the Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) was unable to find two witnesses who agreed about Jesus.
Lying comes from our old, evil self, and is not a part of the new nature that we have in Jesus:
Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds – Colossians 3.9 (NLT).
Let us always tell the truth in LOVE.