Tell the Truth

There’s axiomatic humor that warns, “If you kill a bug, another thousand will come to the funeral.” The same could be said for lying—tell one and it will require another thousand to cover your trail.

If I had to select a single virtue that would be the best place to begin curing social ills, it would be honesty. The personal and political agenda’s of many have led an overwhelming number of people down the road of deceit. Once deception is unleashed, trust will vanish. Most compromised practices that eventually fail are the result of lying. Unfortunately, “spin” is an accepted value if it helps the individual or organization achieve a goal.

The Bible takes a straightforward stand on the issue. It is written, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” This is the ninth commandment, and Scripture takes a broad perspective on the term “neighbor.”

Deuteronomy 19 discusses witnesses, and testifying against someone accused of a crime. Vs. 15 says, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime…” Vs. 18-19 “The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

The words “malicious” and “evil” are used to describe one bearing false witness against another. And the consequences were severe!

If I had a dollar every time a person willfully lied to me during a criminal investigation, I’d be a wealthy man! Law enforcement officer’s everywhere, while engaging someone who has blatantly disregarded the truth, repeats the following dialogue.

LEO: It’s obvious you’re lying!

Crook: How do you know?

LEO: Your lips are moving.

Jesus extolled graciousness for the corrupt as He was confident God’s justice would trump man’s attempt at retaliation. But Christ upheld the virtue of honesty when He said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” In the context of Matthew 5, He was simply saying, “tell the truth.” It might be humbling, but it’s not difficult.

-Jim

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