You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Though God uses the vocabulary of the law courts in the ninth commandment, he is calling us to truth-telling in every way.
The truth matters to God. He is a truth-teller and a lover of truth. Lying is a failure at loving because lying ruins relationships and destroys the threads of trust that bind people together.
We can lie in all sorts of ways. When we inflate stories or résumés, we lie to impress people. If we are afraid to be honest and disagree with a strong person, then we lie to please people. We can also lie to make a profit if we lie to a customer or make false advertising claims. When we slander, we lie to discredit someone. A big reason we lie is just to avoid trouble or punishment. At other times people lie for convenience. For example, if we call in sick at work when we are not sick or if we say “we’ve shipped it” when we haven’t. There are also the small lies of exaggeration.
But no matter the form of dishonesty and duplicity, God calls us to stop lying and tell the truth. He knows that every lie poisons human relationships and erodes our character.
God hates lying and he delights in truth-telling. Even though dishonesty may be extremely common, we must obey God, declare an all-out spiritual war on lying, and decide we will follow in the footsteps of our truth-telling God rather than in the footsteps of Satan, who is the arch deceiver and the father of lies.
Tell the truth!