View Full Version : The 9th commandment, is this the key to all of them?

Preston Stearns
08-17-2010, 09:51 AM
Greetings, I'm not so much of a church going man, but I believe in good, and that really means I believe in God. Here I present to you part of a sermon from almost 20 years ago by Dr. Ray Pritchard. I was so impressed always by his words on the 9th commandment: "Thou shalt not bear false witness", I think they are very appropriate at least for me now, I can't speak for others, but this commandment may very well be the source of obeying all the others, I find that a great philosophical matter worthy of much discussion no matter who you are or where you are from. Here it is:

Consider this brief sample of what the Bible says on this subject:

Psalm 12:22 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Psalm%2012.22)—"Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Proverbs%206.16-19)—"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him … a lying tongue … a false witness who pours out lies.”
Proverbs 14:5 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Proverbs%2014.5)—"A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.”
Ephesians 4:25 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Ephesians%204.25)—"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.”
Colossians 3:9 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Colossians%203.9)—"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.”
Revelation 21:8 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Revelation%2021.8)—"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
From these verses alone we can safely conclude that truth matters greatly to God. Not only does truth matter, telling the truth matters to God. But we can go one step further and say that God hates those who willfully choose to lie.
Truth matters to God! That’s the message of the Ninth Commandment.

The truth shall make you free … but it will hurt you first.”

When I read that, a light when on in my head. I saw myself in a brand-new way. One reason I wasn’t getting better was because I didn’t want the truth to hurt me first. It was easier to avoid the truth because the truth about my own life was too painful to bear.
Then everything clicked into place. That’s why so many people struggle with their problems for years. They don’t want the truth to hurt them … so they avoid the truth at all costs.
Do they want to get better? Absolutely.
Do they know the the truth? Intellectually, yes.

Then why don’t they get better? Because they won’t let the truth get close enough to hurt them. Instead, they erect a thousand defense mechanisms that deflect the truth before it hits home.
Which explains why you can go to church for years, listen to sermons for years, read the Bible and pray for years … and still not get better.
"The truth shall make you free … but it will hurt you first.”
When you are finally willing to be hurt by the truth about yourself, then—and only then—will you be set free.

III. How to Become a More Truthful Person

Let’s wrap this up with three simple suggestions for becoming a more truthful person:

A. Practice Creative Silence

Proverbs 10:19 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Proverbs%2010.19) says, “Where words are many, sin is not absent; but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
Proverbs 11:12 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Proverbs%2011.12) declares, “A man of understanding holds his tongue.”
Proverbs 13:3 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Proverbs%2013.3) adds, “He who guards his tongue guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”
Proverbs 21:23 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/Proverbs%2021.23) tells us that “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”
Truth-telling begins with silence. Speak less and you will speak more truthfully. The more you say, the more likely you are to exaggerate, to slander, to mislead and to stretch the truth.
What is creative silence? Here is the key: It means praying while you are listening. Most of us don’t listen very well anyway. When someone else is talking, we’re busy trying to figure out what we are going to say next. No wonder we don’t communicate!
Creative silence means listening more, saying less, and praying instead of interrupting.
Pray for wisdom!
Pray for God’s guidance!
Pray for understanding!
Pray for God’s love to be manifested in your speech!

The Bible is clear on this point. The more we speak, the less truth we tell. If we want to become more truthful, the first step is to speak less.

B. Practice Personal Accountability

I have already suggested that one reason we don’t get better is that we are afraid to let the truth get close enough to hurt us. In particular, we’re afraid that if others know the truth about the way we really are, they won’t love us or accept us. Therefore, we live behind our well-constructed masks, pretending to have it all together, playing the religious game, going through all the “right” motions, never admitting that inside we are barely holding it together.

Good friends help other friends find the courage to tell the truth!
As Bill Miller often says, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Think about that. Once you let your dirty secrets out of the closet—about your hidden addictions, your closet sins, your unrevealed bad habits—they aren’t secrets any more. Then you can start getting better.
Truth-telling is made easier in the presence of a few caring friends.
C. Commit Yourself to Becoming a “Person of Truth”
A few years ago Scott Peck wrote a best-seller called People of the Lie. As Christians, we are called to be “People of the Truth.” After all, we know Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/John%2014.6)) When he stood before Pilate, he declared, “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/John%2018.37))
Are you on the side of truth?
D.L. Moody said, “Don’t argue about whether or not a stick is crooked. The way to tell is to put a straight stick down next to it.” We live in a crooked world where truth is routinely devalued and where falsehood is elevated to a way of life. God hasn’t called us to go around condemning all the falsehood and dishonesty. All we have to do is tell the truth and the dishonesty will be seen for what it really is.
If we will take the Ninth Commandment seriously, the truth will take care of itself.

“Against Your Neighbor”

One final point, and I am done. The Ninth Commandment adds a phrase we might tend to overlook: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” It is ironic, isn’t it, that you are most likely to lie to those you know the best and love the most.

—Your husband or your wife
—Your children
—Your parents
—Your best friends
—The people with whom you work
—Your neighbors
Once again we come face to face with the awful reality that this Commandment is not directed to the people “out there” but to the people “in here"—to those of us who name the name of God, who claim to know the Lord, who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.
The Ninth Commandment is for us!
We are the ones who need its message.
May I remind you that truth is not simply a verbal proposition. Truth is ultimately in a Person. That’s why Pilate’s question—"What is truth?"—has echoed and reverberated across the centuries. Truth to him was a philosophical proposition. Little did he know that the Truth was standing in front of him.
That’s why John 1:14 (http://bible.logos.com/passage/niv/John%201.14) says that Jesus came to the earth “full of grace and truth.”
—To know Jesus is to know the Truth.
—To follow Jesus is to follow the Truth.
—To believe in Jesus is to believe the Truth.
—To love Jesus is to love the Truth.
That’s why truth-telling is so crucial for us. We know the Truth, we have believed the Truth, we have commit-ted ourselves to following the Truth. Therefore, we must become People of the Truth.
When will the lying end?
When God’s people decide to tell the truth!