“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Command number nine. This command causes some people irritation. Is this actually a prohibition against lying in general or is it more of a giving false testimony thing? That the question is asked is telling.
Jesus says that He is the Truth (John 14:6), and I, as a Christian, am held to His standard. He is the Truth, therefore I am expected to be truthful. It should be as simple as that. And it is.
I could probably let myself get all twisted up in knots like the folks who want to know precisely what this verse means in the original Hebrew and on and on. But I do not need to tie myself up in knots. I can take the straightforward interpretation and run with it.
And, because I love words, just based on word order and a bit of educated guesswork, I think that the original reads something along the lines of “Do not speak false testimony to/against your fellow human beings.” But that is only guesswork. Even that reading would have people asking if lying is acceptable when it is for the benefit of another, i.e. not hurting someone’s feelings.
Let me be held to the higher standard of Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth. Even the Old Testament tells me that God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). Since the God I worship is incapable of lying and is, Himself, the embodiment of Truth, I should seek to be full of Truth (truthful) and not concern myself with when it might, possibly, potentially be acceptable to hedge the truth. Let me, instead, seek to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Father, thank You for this verse that reveals where my heart is. If I seek to discern limits and places where the command ends, then I am missing the point of the command and have much growth yet ahead of me. Please teach me to speak the truth in love. Truth without love is an easy thing – especially when angered. But truth in love is a challenge.