Seasoned with Salt
"You shall not give false testimony
against your neighbor. (NIV)
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.
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)
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
Lies are told through vengeance - to
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 &
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.
"Do not spread false reports.
Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. (NIV)
"'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)
"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)
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
"'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The words of a gossip are like
choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. (NIV)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (NIV)
A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid a man who talks too much. (NIV)
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
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)
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.
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)