Exodus 20:16. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
There is more than one way to tell a lie.
For instance we must not lie with our lives. In other words, we must not pretend to be what we are not. That is hypocrisy. The story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 is a case in point. They lied and were struck dead by God for their hypocrisy. And in Matthew 23 our Lord uses some of the strongest language in the Bible in denouncing some of the hypocrites of His day.
We also have the story of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8. He gave the impression of being one of the believers, but then he said and did something which indicated he had not understood the gospel. Peter the apostle, filled with the Holy Spirit, was given insight into the man’s heart and said to him, in effect, ‘Simon, you may have been baptised, you may be with the Church, you may be a great friend of Philip the evangelist, you may be a very notable person in the community but your heart is full of bitterness and sin’.
Preachers have a tremendous responsibility before God not to lie with their lives. You as individual Christians also have a great responsibility. If you are not a Christian, don’t say you are and then act as if you are not.
Secondly, don’t lie with your lips in the course of daily living. The Lord Jesus warns us in Matthew 5:37 that we should let our ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ , and our ‘No’ be ‘No’. We should be able to accept each other at face value instead of living with perpetual suspicions that a person is not telling the truth.
The Bible says you must not slander. In Leviticus 19:16 God says, ‘You shall not go about as a tale-bearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbour: I am the Lord’.
In Ephesians 4:29-31 we have this statement:
‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.’
Why is God so particular about slander? Because slander can be a form of murder. Slander destroys a person’s reputation and integrity, and is a form of theft. We have no right to take other people’s reputation from them and rob them of their integrity.
Read James 3 v 9-12. Is there some verbal poison you are guilty of that needs to be neutralised?