Summary: Ninth Commandment: Do not bear false witness. Sermon focuses on the importance of seeking and speaking the truth.
Truth Be Told
Mike & Harry are sitting at a bar. They get into a heated argument. Mike grabs Harry around the throat and starts to choke him. As Harry fights back, he throws Mike off him, and Mike smashes up the side of his face on a chair. An ambulance is called, and when all is said and done, Mike loses the sight in his right eye.
Well, Mike decides to sue Harry for damages. Since Mike was trying to choke the life out of Harry at the time of the incident, he fears that may have an adverse affect on his case. SO, he gets a couple of his buddies (we’ll call them Bert & Ernie) who were in the bar that night to say that Harry punched Mike in the face and that’s how he lost his sight.
In the course of the trial, other eyewitnesses are brought forward who give evidence that contradicts Bert & Ernie. The CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS get their DNA tests and their other tricks, which all tend to disprove Mike’s story (as well As Bert & Ernie’s) version. Harry is cleared of all criminal and civil charges.
We know that Mike is probably in deep trouble now, but what about Bert & Ernie, who lied for Mike? In our legal system, there would be some potentially serious consequences for committing perjury. But no matter how stiff their sentence might be, it wouldn’t be as serious as the Old Testament Law would’ve required.
Deuteronomy 19 says that if a witness was proven to be lying, then the Law commanded to “do to him as he intended to do to his brother”
In my little story, if Harry had been convicted of causing Mike’s injury, the punishment would be that he would lose his eye. “Eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth, right?” By lying in court, Bert & Ernie were trying to knock Harry’s eye out with their words.
And so the same law applied to them, “Eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth.”
God hates false witnesses because He hates injustice.
The wording of this commandment focuses particularly on a court of Law – but it isn’t restricted to the courts.
The Bigger issue in this commandment is truthfulness.
Dr. Scott Peck became well-known for his book, The Road Less Traveled. His second book was called, “People of the Lie,” and it detailed how, at the very core of evil, there is always lying.
Evil people lie to others in order to accomplish their plans
Evil people lie to themselves in order to rationalize their behavior.
It is no coincidence that Jesus calls Satan, “a liar and the father of all lies.”
By contrast, Jesus said, “I AM THE TRUTH.”
The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth.
A few weeks ago, Tom did a children’s sermon where he quoted the old Lay’s Potato Chip commercial: “You can’t eat just one.” Lies are like that. It may be kind of hard to tell that first lie. But once you’ve told it, it’s really hard to tell just that one. Because once you start lying, you pretty much have to keep it up with other lies.
I read a story this week about a woman who introduced her 35-yr-old daughter as being only 24. The girl asked why she’d done it and the mother said, “Well, I realized that I’ve been lying about my age for so long, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d have to lie about your age, too!”
It’s one thing to say you’re 49 when your daughter is in her 20’s, but if you say you’re 49 when your daughter is 35 – well, having a child at age 14 isn’t generally something people brag about!
Sir Walter Scott got it right when he said, “O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
We live in a day when truth is considered as obsolete (and almost as unpleasant) an outhouse. James Emery White, in a book called You Can Experience an Authentic Life, cites these statistics:
91% of all Americans confessed that they regularly lied.
79% had given out false phone numbers or invented new identities when meeting strangers on airplanes.
20% said they couldn’t get through even one day without going along with a previously manufactured lie.
White goes on to say this:
Now here’s what I found most intriguing about the study: People no longer seem to care about lying. We accept it. It doesn’t bother us. We don’t get upset anymore when someone exaggerates, falsifies, fabricates, or misrepresents the truth. We live in a day when we’ve been bombarded with erased tapes, tampered evidence, illicit cover-ups, padded resumes, and exaggerated ads, to the point that we’ve pretty much given up on truth being a viable enterprise.