10 Commandments Bible Study: Do Not Lie

Why We Should Not Bear False Witness

Envy. Envy? by Florencia Cárcamo licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The ninth commandment of the Bible reminds us not to lie, or in some circles "bear false witness." When we walk away from the truth, we walk away from God. There are often consequences to lying, whether or not we get caught. Being honest can sometimes seem like the difficult decision, but when we learn how to be honest well, we know it is the right decision.

Where is this Commandment in the Bible?

Exodus 20:16 - You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. (NLT)

Why This Commandment is Important

God is truth. He is honesty. When we tell the truth, we live as God wants us to live. When we don't tell the truth by lying we go against what God expects of us. Often people lie, because they are concerned about getting in trouble or hurting someone, but losing our integrity can be just as damaging. We lose our integrity when we lie, both in the eyes of God and in the eyes of those around us. Lying diminishes our relationship with God, as it decreases the trust. When it becomes easy to lie, we find that we start deceiving ourselves, which can be just as dangerous as lying to others. When we start believing our own lies, we start justifying sinful or hurtful actions. Lying is a pathway to a long, slow walk away from God.

What This Commandment Means Today

Think about how the world would be different if no one lied…ever. At first it's a scary thought. After all, if we didn't lie people would get hurt, right? After all, you might hurt your relationship with your best friend by telling him you can't stand his girlfriend. Or you may earn a lower grade by taking the test unprepared rather than calling in "sick" to school. Yet, not being able to lie also teaches us the importance of tact in our relationships and reminds us the importance of being prepared and not procrastinating. We learn skills that help us be honest in our lives.

Our nature and the world around us promotes deception. Look at any ad in a magazine. The amount of airbrushing that goes on deceives all of us that we can possibly look like those individuals, when those models or celebrities don't even look like that. Commercials, movies, and television demonstrate lying as an acceptable thing to do to "save face" or "protect someone's feelings."

Yet, as Christians, we have to learn to overcome the temptation to lie. It can be frustrating at times. Fear is often the biggest emotion to overcome when we face the desire to lie. Yet we must always keep it in our hearts and minds that there is a way to tell the truth that is good. We cannot allow ourselves to give in to our weaknesses and lie. It takes practice, but it can happen.

How to Live By This Commandment

There are several ways you can begin living by this commandment:

  • Think first. Sometimes we lie to give an answer to someone quickly. Yet, take a deep breath and think about how to say the truth in a tactful way.
  • Keep it real. Lies aren't always full untruths. Sometimes we exaggerate or stretch the truth a bit Even stretching the truth is lying, because there is an element of falseness to it. Sure, we may want to make ourselves look better, but that is selfishness and fear speaking.
  • Set things right. We have all given into temptation from time to time and lied. Think about it later, and then try to make it right and be willing to face the consequences of lying.
  • Learn tact. One of the reasons we lie is to protect our friends. Learning to be honest with loved ones can take time, but what it mostly takes is tact. There is a way to be honest that comes across with integrity and love. If your friend looks terrible in green, say so, but say it nicely ("Jules, you know, this would look so much better in blue," for example).
  • Know the truth hurts sometimes. Just because you choose to tell the truth doesn't mean it will always be accepted with open arms. Some people may be hurt by what you have to say. It happens. In the end, though, most people will appreciate the honesty rather than the lies. Anyone who hates you for being truthful probably has some issue with what's going on in the first place and doesn't want the truth at the moment. Yet the fear of someone not wanting to hear the truth should never stop us from telling it. Sometimes God uses us to highlight wrongs in other people's lives.
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Your Citation
Mahoney, Kelli. "10 Commandments Bible Study: Do Not Lie." Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, learnreligions.com/10-commandments-bible-study-do-not-lie-712187. Mahoney, Kelli. (2020, August 25). 10 Commandments Bible Study: Do Not Lie. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/10-commandments-bible-study-do-not-lie-712187 Mahoney, Kelli. "10 Commandments Bible Study: Do Not Lie." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/10-commandments-bible-study-do-not-lie-712187 (accessed April 1, 2023).