Bible Reading: Acts 5:1-11
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16, NIV
HAVE YOU EVER noticed the headlines of some of the newspapers in the racks beside the grocery store checkout lines?
“Alien spaceship found in New Mexico!” (It was a four-seat plane from Mexico.)
“Baby born with treasure map on its back!” (It was a birthmark.)
“I gave birth to Elvis’s two-headed alien love child!” (Yeah, right.)
“Vince Foster’s ghost haunts White House!” (The floor in the west wing creaks.)
Do people really believe this stuff? They certainly buy it. Supermarket tabloids sell millions of newspapers every week, so somebody out there must be reading it, liking it, and maybe even believing it.
Of course, those newspapers aren’t the only ones to “embellish” the truth or even to stretch it to its breaking point. You and I do it all the time. We may not claim to have seen Elvis at the local Wal-Mart, but we do stretch the truth sometimes. After all, what’s the harm of a “little white lie”?
A lot. God has another word for “stretching the truth” or “embellishing the truth.” He calls it lying. He says, “Do not testify falsely against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16), and “Do not lie” (Leviticus 19:11). But lying, whether it’s a little white lie or a big fat one, is wrong not just because God says it is. The ninth commandment reveals God as a God who values truth because he himself is true.
Another reason God tells us to avoid lying and to speak the truth is that lying is destructive. Ananias and Sapphira found that out in one deadly lesson! Lying separates us from God. It erodes our character and destroys our reputation. It makes us less like God.
God wants to save us from all that by showing us, through his commandments, what he is like. When we reflect his nature, we also make things a lot easier on ourselves.
REFLECT: The ninth commandment tells us not to lie. What does that reveal about what God is like? Do you think God ever lies? Why or why not? Finish this statement: “I reflected God’s nature this week when I_________________. If you can’t finish the statement, what could you do now to reflect God’s nature?
ACT: Cut out letters from news headlines to form the words “Do not lie.” Arrange them on a piece of paper. Then attach the paper to your mirror, bulletin board, or refrigerator as a reminder to always speak the truth.
PRAY: “I’m sorry, God, that it’s hard for me to tell the truth when______________. Help me to be more like you.”