“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16
Q: What is the ninth commandment?
A: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we shouldn’t deceive, betray, or speak badly about other people, but instead, we should defend them, speak well of them, and build them up.
If God hates lying, what would be the opposite of that? Speaking the truth! God loves the truth. In fact, Jesus said that He is the truth (John 14:6).
Sometimes it’s hard to speak the truth, especially when you need to say something to someone that might not be fun to hear.
We all need correction. Children need correction from their parents, husbands, and wives need correction from each other, and Christians in a church family need correction, called rebuke for the sake of healthy community.
But if we are going to do that, we have to be willing to speak the truth. Sometimes it’s easier to just keep quiet or say something that is a bit more comfortable so that the person to whom you are speaking doesn’t get his or her feelings hurt.
It is very important to be sensitive and gentle in the way we communicate the truth, but we still need to communicate the truth to others if we are going to grow in the ways that God wants us to grow. We also should be able to receive the truth from others when they speak it to us!
Read Ephesians 4:15–16:
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
- Why does Paul say that we should speak the truth in love?
- How have you seen the correction of your parents be a form of this type of truth telling?
- Sometimes, it’s hard to admit, but wouldn’t you say that this has been a blessing in your life? (Parents might need to do a little coaching here.)
Our Father, may we be humble enough to give and receive the truth in a way that honors You and helps us grow. Help us overcome our temptation refrain from truth-telling or to tell a falsehood because we fear the opinions of other people. May we only fear You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.