Summary: You ever wonder why lying was included in the same list with Murder and Adultery? Here is a look at where lying came from and what it cost us to lie
A couple of weeks we got a glimpse into Han’s character when we watched him reveal his duplicity to Ana, his fiancé. It appears that he wooed her simply to become Prince and then kill the queen to assume the throne of Arendelle. And I asked the question “What isn’t this man capable of?” And now we know. Now he takes his bad behaviour to a whole new level and the lies he tells culminate in a death sentence for the queen. And we know that what he did was wrong, we know that because he is a liar that he can’t be trusted and should be punished.
One of the things we teach our children is to not lie. When God set down his law in the 10 Commandments which forbid things that would tear society apart he commanded us to not break our marriage vows, not to kill people and not to take things that don’t belong to us. And we understand those things.
We don’t have to look very far into our society to see what happens when people fail to heed those commandments. The prophet Hosea made this statement about the actions of Israel almost three thousand years ago that seems to apply to our society today, Hosea 8:7 NKJV "They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind.” But that is a message for another day.
And while we see the dangers of people cheating on their spouses, killing people and stealing, lying seems so petty in comparison. After all, to quote the infamous Dr. House “Everybody lies”. And it was Will Rogers who said ‘The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.”
But if we go back to the scripture that was read earlier we read the words of Jesus in regards to lying when he said Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus said “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.’ But I say, do not make any vows! . . . Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’”
What is Jesus saying? He is telling us that his followers should be people of integrity. The concept of vows go clear back to the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 23:21 “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the LORD your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin.
The Jewish teachers had always insisted on the paramount importance of a person’s word. It is in the Talmud, the collected wisdom of the Rabbis that we read “One who gives his word and changes it is as bad as an idolater”
As a matter of fact the Rabbinical school of Shammai even forbade normal polite courtesies, like complimenting a bride on her looks when she was in fact plain. And so to allow people that courtesy the Rabbis decreed that “All brides are beautiful on their wedding day.”
Two things brought vow swearing to a head during the time of Christ, the first was making vows about frivolous things, and we do that today don’t we, “Honest, I swear, that truck almost hit me” The second problem was even worse and that was evasive swearing. People had decided that some vows were binding and others weren’t. So if you made an vow on God’s name it was binding, but if you swore by heaven, or earth or Jerusalem then it was less binding. The thought being that if God’s name was used then he became a partner with you in the statement.
Just a little pet peeve here, I think that some people, believers included, use the name of God much too lightly and I don’t just mean cussing. But I mean when we use God as an exclamation in mark our conversation. Keep it simple, the only time you should use the word God is when you are talking about Him or to Him. By the way that was free.
Have you ever sat down and listened to someone seriously trying to explain the difference between lies, white lies and fibbing? When I first went to Bible College, as a new believer, I had that conversation with someone who had grown up in the church and they told me “No really, a fib isn’t really lying, it’s more like a white lie.”
Jesus recognized that an unredeemed society needed to have something to govern them other than their innate honesty. Order cannot be maintained without some kind of legal machinery to insure that promises would be kept.
Christ didn’t come to destroy or change law for society, instead he came to fulfil it through the Christian. Not only should the Christian always keep their word they shouldn’t have to swear an vow to make sure they keep it. The thought shouldn’t be going through their minds, “Did I actually promise to do that? Or did I just say I would?” It doesn’t matter if you promised or not if you said you would do it then you need to do it. Christ told us in Matthew 5:37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. Does that mean that Christians are never to take oaths? If that was the case then how do we explain Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. and again in Galatians 1:20 I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie.