Commandment #9: You Shall Not Bear False Witness. (Exodus 20:16)
Though this commandment was originally focused against perjuring oneself in a judicial trial, it certainly applies to lying in general. With the teaching of situation ethics in our public schools (the teaching that there is no such thing as absolute truth), it’s no wonder that 67% of Americans don’t believe in absolute truth. With this kind of outlook, it’s easy to see why lying and deception are so much a part of our culture.
According to the book, The Day America Told the Truth:
- 91% of us lie regularly
- The majority of us find it hard to get through a week without lying
- 1 in 5 can’t make it through a single day without lying.
God hates lying
“These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16–19).
Notice that three of the seven things the Lord hates revolve around the ninth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16). From this, we can conclude that God hates lying in any form.
“It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). The Lord hates lying because He is the source of truth—and truth describes His very character. In drastic contrast, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).
When we lie, we are behaving more like children of the devil than children of God. God says of the liar, “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence” (Psalm 101:7).
“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9).
Why do we lie?
Considering we know that lying is wrong, why do we do it? Oftentimes we lie because we have been caught doing something wrong. An example of this was when Moses came down from Mount Sinai and found Aaron and the rest of the Israelites worshipping a golden calf. When Moses confronted Aaron with this, Aaron responded, “We threw the gold in the fire and this golden calf came out.” (See Exodus 32:17–24.)
According to the Washington Post, “People lie 92% of the time to save face and 98% to keep from offending someone else.” We have all been faced with those situations when telling the truth is not easy.