Exodus 20, 16
Something to read
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
To be the victim of lies and false accusation can be a very frightening and vulnerable place to be – not least in a judicial context.
Yet the scope of this commandment goes beyond the judicial process. Scripture makes clear that in all contexts the people of God should reflect the character of God – just, true, and righteous. Falsehood and lies undermine this and lead instead to a fragmented community characterised by injustice and fear.
False witness of one against another can take many forms and they are worryingly commonplace - gossip, slander, insinuation, flattery, shifting blame, and undermining someone’s reputation (staying silent at key moments can communicate just as devastatingly as ill-chosen words). Falsehoods are not only articulated by individuals but by the powerful voices of governments, corporations and media, too.
But as those who follow Jesus the Truth (John 14 v6), we seek His Spirit to lead us into all truth (John 16 v13) that in all circumstances we may only speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4 v15).
Something to do
In his best-selling book ‘What would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness’, among other advice to up-and-coming business leaders, Michael Bing states, ‘The list of accomplished liars is long and impressive.
'Those who do not lie do not succeed and therefore remain unknown.’ In what ways are you encouraged to lie or under pressure to lie? Is there anything you can do to challenge this or change this?
Something to pray
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19 v14
Today’s contributor is the Rev Jeremy Allcock, Vicar of St Stephen’s, Westbourne Park, west London, and Area Dean of Paddington.