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Speech Seasoned with Salt

Wednesday evening Bible study

Exodus 20:16

Jim Davis

Exodus 20:16
"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (NIV)

Ephesians 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

Colossians 4:5-6
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (NIV)

The ninth commandment dealt with varying aspects of lying. The Bible has a lot to say about the effects and the consequences of lying. "There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. "(Proverbs 6: 16,17) "Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment."(Proverbs 12:19) "Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool; much less are lying lips to a prince." (Proverbs 17:7 ) "A truthful witness saves lives, but he who speaks lies is treacherous." (Proverbs 14:25) "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape."(Proverbs 19:5)

Psalms 15:1-5
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. (NIV)

There are several reasons we resort to lying. We lie for convenience when we are attempting to escape trouble. A child may say - "I didn't do it", the adult says - "the check is in the mail."

Lies are told through vengeance - to destroy another.

Psalms 64:1-8
Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from that noisy crowd of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent man; they shoot at him suddenly, without fear. They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say, "Who will see them?" They plot injustice and say, "We have devised a perfect plan!" Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning. But God will shoot them with arrows; suddenly they will be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. (NIV)

Lies are told out of boastfulness & pride.

In the July 15, 1993 Boardroom Reports, Peter LeVine writes: "When the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ran a help-wanted ad for electricians with expertise at using Sontag connectors, it got 170 responses--even though there is no such thing as a Sontag connector. The Authority ran the ad to find out how many applicants falsify resumes." -- Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 1.

The real reason for lying is that we are sinful. When Aristotle was asked what a man could gain by telling a falsehood, he replied, "Never to be credited when he speaks the truth."

Lying Takes on Many Forms

Laws against perjury.

Exodus 23:1
"Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. (NIV)

Leviticus 19:11-12
"'Do not steal. "'Do not lie. "'Do not deceive one another. "'Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. (NIV)

Exodus 23:6-8
"Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. "Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (NIV)

Deuteronomy 19:15-21
One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (NIV)

People's lives are too important to God to tolerate false testimonies. Too often things get passed around as "truth" on the sole testimony of one person. We must remember that a single person can slant the truth in such a way as to be viewed from their own framework, but coming through several sources helps to mitigate that the truth will remain intact.

Slander was forbidden

Leviticus 19:16
"'Do not go about spreading slander among your people. "'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD. (NIV)

Satan slandered God to Adam and Eve for God had told them they would die if they ate the fruit. Satan said God was a liar and was actually keeping them from becoming gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:1-6
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (NIV)

Satan came before God to slander Job. He told God that Job only served Him because of the bribes God had given. He told God that Job was playing God for a sucker and only serves God to get what he can get.

Job 1:6-9
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. (NIV)

Satan also slanders us before God.

Revelation 12:10-11
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (NIV)

When it came time for Jesus to be put to death, the chief priest and elders and all the council looked for a false witness against Jesus. They used slander to justify their sentence of death. Their activity came from Satan.

Matthew 26:59-62
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'" Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against (NIV)

False witnesses slandered Stephen.

Acts 6:13-15
They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us." All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (NIV)

Slander's Many Forms

Slander comes in the form of rumors. D.L. Moody said a rumor could travel half way around the world before the truth could get it's boots on. The best way to spread rumor is through gossip.

Proverbs 18:8
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. (NIV)

Proverbs 26:20
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. (NIV)

Have you noticed how some try to build themselves up by tearing someone else down? Politicians are notorious for this approach in their campaigns. However, we must allow God to lift us up by refusing to resort to such tactics.

James 4:10-11
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. (NIV)

We may slander through breaking confidences.

Proverbs 11:13
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (NIV)

Flattery is another form of slander. Flattery is forbidden in Scripture for it is the use of supposed compliments in order to use somebody. This does not speak of encouragement, thanks, giving honor, or praise.

Psalms 55:21
His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords. (NIV)

Psalms 28:3-4
Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back upon them what they deserve. (NIV)

Proverbs 5:1-6
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not. (NIV)

Lying is involved in all slander.

Jeremiah 18:18-23
They said, "Come, let's make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not be lost, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let's attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says." Listen to me, O LORD; hear what my accusers are saying! Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them. So give their children over to famine; hand them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men be put to death, their young men slain by the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses when you suddenly bring invaders against them, for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet. But you know, O LORD, all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger. (NIV)

Palms 101:5
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. (NIV)

Proverbs 10:18-22
He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment. The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it. (NIV)

Lincoln was trying to make a point. His hearer was unconvinced and stubborn. So Lincoln tried another tack. He said to the disputer, "Well, let's see now. How many legs does a cow have?" The disgusted reply came back "Four, of course." Lincoln agreed, "That's right. Now, suppose you call the cow's tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?" The opponent replied confidently, "Why, five, of course." Lincoln came back, "Now that's where you're wrong. Calling a cow's tail a leg doesn't make it a leg!" --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 483.

Innuendo is another way we bear false witness. We can even bear false witness by failing to speak the truth, sometimes by not saying something we can hurt others or allow a false witness to exist on someone, or we can create a false witness by holding back truth!

Such comments like, "If you only knew what I knew about so and so, but I promised not to say anything…"

Insinuation is used to lead others astray. When the Pharisees discovered they were losing debate with Jesus, they insinuated that he was born of fornication. They were trying to destroy his reputation by insinuation.

Silence is another way we bear false witness. The failure for many to speak up in World War II when Hitler did his atrocities was a way to allow them to continue…this failure to speak the truth can also be a form of bearing a false witness.

Gossip is one sure way to break God’s law. It's no compliment to us when somebody wants to use our ears as a garbage can for their words.

Proverbs 11:13
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (NIV)

Proverbs 20:19
A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (NIV)

Ephesians 4:31-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

1 Timothy 1:9-10
We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-- and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine (NIV)

1 Timothy 3:11
In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. (NIV)

Titus 2:3
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. (NIV)

1 Peter 2:1
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (NIV)


If you want to measure the value of your religion, examine your speech. "If any one thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless." (James 1:26) Your words are very important. "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." (Matthew 12:36,37) If you want to see the moral condition of your heart, listen to what comes out of your mouth (cf. Matthew 15:17-19). "For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." (Matthew 12:34)


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