Summary: It is Better, to tell the truth, that hurts and then heals than to tell a lie that comforts & then kills. It is Better to be Hated for Telling the Truth than to be Loved for Telling a Lie. It is Better to Stand Alone with the Truth than to be Wrong with the Multitude

In December 2001 George O’Leary was at the top of the coaching profession. He had just been named the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame – the Fighting Irish. It was a dream of a lifetime. O’Leary was in charge of one of the most prestigious sports programs in the world. Then two days later, at the end of his first day on the job, a call came. A reporter had been trying to contact some of the guys who had played college football with O’Leary back at New Hampshire. The strange thing was that nobody could remember a George O’Leary. So Notre Dame’s sports information director telephoned to check it out. O’Leary admitted that when he applied for a job at Syracuse, his resume didn’t look impressive enough. So he improved his resume. He improved his resume by claiming he had a non-existent master’s degree as well as playing for the College of New Hampshire for three years. Just five days after being named the head football coach for Notre Dame, was asked for his resignation.

Today’s Scripture

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

We assume and consume lies. Lies flatter and seduce, they deceive and delude, and they kill and destroy. John Calvin explained that as the Eighth Commandment, “You Shall Not Steal,” tied his hands so the Ninth Commandment tied his tongue. If all of us were so tongue-tied.

God considers lying serious business: “There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16–17).

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:22).

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19).

“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel” (Proverbs 20:17).

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.” (Proverbs 21:6).

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Lying is more widespread than we care to consider. There is bias in the media, there is misrepresentation among advertisers, there are false promises from politicians, and there is gossip over the back fence.

1. The Liability of Lying

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

A lie can forfeit a life or it can destroy a reputation. They do this by subverting a fundamental requirement for civilization – trust. If we do not trust our neighbors, then no relationship between us can exist. In the place of lying, we find that truth stabilizes relationships. Listen to Jesus’ summation on the character of lies and their origin: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Satan slivered into the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve listened to the lies of Satan (Genesis 3:1). Satan began there to put a question mark upon the Word of God. Satan has promoted lies since that day. Every time you lie, you’re acting like the devil. Satan has spawned a number of children.

Let’s quickly examine six children of Satan.

1.1 Perjury Is One of the Devil’s Children

This commandment's first reference was to the court of law. At Athens, the false witness was liable to a heavy fine, and if convicted for three lies, they lost all his civil rights. At Rome, by a law of the Twelve Tables, he was hurled headlong from the Tarpeian rock. In Egypt, the false witness was punished by amputation of the nose and ears. Each day, individual Israelites gave testimony through the legal process. This commandment aims to prohibit a false witness inside the courtroom.

Closing arguments are underway in the Casey Anthony murder trial this week. This young twenty-five-year-old lady is accused of killing her two-year-old daughter. Her parents have said they do not believe their daughter is innocent. Much is being said in the courtroom as Casey accuses her parents and her parents accuse her. It’s obvious that somebody is lying. And much is at stake when the jury begins to deliberate on the testimony of the parents.

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