“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
— Exodus 20:16
The Hare Krishna cult (a form of Hinduism) believes there are five circumstances in which one may lie and remain sinless: in marriage, to gratify lust, to save one’s life, to protect one’s property, and on behalf of Brahma (the highest caste of Hindus). But God is Truth, and He abhors and abominates all lying.
The Ninth Commandment forbids lying on several levels. The worst level is perjury— lying about someone in a court of law. Our courts of law recognize this as a gross crime, but in Old Testament times, the people took it even more seriously. A witness who committed perjury would receive the same penalty as the criminal, such as death by stoning. Another level of lying includes the sins of talebearing, faultfinding, and criticizing. We must do nothing that will harm a person’s reputation. The third level is speaking falsely to someone.
Just as the Ninth Commandment forbids these three levels of lying, it also requires the opposite positive actions of speaking truthfully and witnessing for God’s truth. We must faithfully witness for the Lord and His Gospel, even if it costs us our lives. (The word “witness” in Greek is marturia, from which we get the word “martyr.” This developed because many people in the New Testament lost their lives for bearing witness to the Gospel.) Jesus was the ultimate true witness. At the same time that Peter lied in the courtyard, saying, “I do not know this man,” Jesus was inside before the Sanhedrin bearing faithful witness to the truth.
Have you lived in line with the Ninth Commandment? If not, choose today to avoid lying on all levels, to speak truthfully, and to witness to God’s truth.