Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
As we continue our study of the Ten Commandments, we see there’s more than one way to engage in lying. The most obvious way to break the Ninth Commandment is by contradicting the truth. We lie when we say something that is contrary to the truth. And that was the basis for the first lie. In Genesis 3, we see that Satan himself uttered the first lie in human history in the Garden of Eden. Remember, God had said to Adam and Eve, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16). How did Satan respond? “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die!’” (Genesis 3:4). This is a lie: contradicting the truth of God’s Word.
Why do people engage in lying? Sometimes they contradict the truth to impress people—that is, to claim relationships or experiences that might make them more impressive to others. Sometimes we contradict the truth for revenge, to hurt someone who has hurt us. Sometimes we contradict the truth to escape the consequences of our actions. “Officer, I’m on my way to a funeral. That’s why I was going 85,” or something like that. Sometimes we lie out of convenience. Somebody calls you and you don’t take the call, later claiming that you weren’t at home—when the truth is you were home but didn’t want to talk to that person. Sometimes we contradict the truth to keep from hurting other people’s feelings. Somebody invites us to do something we don’t want to do it, so we make up some excuse.
What’s God’s answer to contradicting the truth? He makes it clear in Ephesians 4:25: “Laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” Very simply: stop lying and start telling the truth.
Another way we engage in violating the Ninth Commandment is by twisting the truth. In this case, we may not directly contradict the truth, but we twist the truth, bending it out of shape. Distortions of the truth can be more dangerous than outright lies because there is just enough truth to make them plausible. Calvin Miller once told about a time when he was in seminary and he had a job in a factory to pay his bills. He had gotten behind in studying for a test and couldn’t report for work that night. He needed to stay home and study, but he didn’t want to call work and say he was sick when he really wasn’t sick. So he came up with a plan. He and his wife were planning to have fish for dinner, so he lay down in bed and asked his wife to bring him the package of frozen fish. Lying in his bed, he threw the frozen fish into the air, caught them, returned them to his wife and told her to call his boss and say, “Calvin is flat on his back in bed and just threw up his dinner.” It worked. He didn’t have to go to work that night—though he admitted that wasn’t speaking the truth in love.
Many times cults twist the truth. They take a little bit of God’s Word and they pull it out of context. They distort it such a way that it communicates falsehood and not the truth. That’s distorting the truth, twisting the truth.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “To Tell the Truth,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.