The Ninth Commandment – “Tell The Truth”
Bible Text: Ephesians 4:25 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16
A big league umpire says he never understands how the crowds in the grandstand, hundreds of feet away, see better and judge more accurately than he can when he is only three feet away. I guess it’s all a point of view.
According to one statistician, the average person spends thirteen years of his life just talking. And, of course, some folks aren’t average by any stretch of the imagination. In the course of a normal day, the average person speaks 18,000 words‑‑enough to fill a book of 54 pages. If the words you speak were put into print they would fill 66 books of 300 pages each.
Have you taken time to analyze conversations that fill most of your waking hours? Listen to the conversations of people at the copy machine in your office, or folks who make small talk waiting for a hair appointment, or who chat on a street corner or on a bus. Listen to the conversations which take place in your home. Plant a tape recorder out of sight, turn it on and then analyze what you’ve said. It has well been said, “Before you say something, you are the master of your words, but once you’ve said what you think, your words have become your master.”
For a moment think with me about the context of the ninth commandment. Why did God single out honesty, especially in relationship to our neighbors, and put a premium upon it? When God gave the Law, he gave instruction regarding the handling of civil disputes. When a man had been wronged by a neighbor, he was required to go before a judge who would hear the case. One man’s witness wasn’t enough, because human nature being what it is, it would be easy for one man to have hatred in his heart towards his neighbor and try to frame him; so it was necessary for at least two persons to testify against a person.
When an accused man was sentenced to death, the witnesses had to place their hands on his head in testimony to the truthfulness of their witness. If it was discovered that a witness was dishonest, that person was to receive the same punishment or fate as the one would have received against whom he testified.
Dishonesty has become so common today that it is often difficult for some children to know the difference between a lie and the truth. Almost every child at about the age of four or five, goes through a process when he begins to sift through truth and dishonesty in his mind, grasping for a standard and trying to discover just what he can get by with and what is expected of him. That, of course, doesn’t make a psychopathic liar out of your child for a moment; but it does afford an opportunity for you as a parent to let your children know clearly what is expected of them and that dishonesty will not be tolerated in your family.
It is when a child does understand what is the truth and what is not true, that a parent should discipline a child, letting him know in no uncertain terms that dishonesty will never be tolerated. Believe me, if I didn’t believe in honesty for any other reason, I would want to teach my children that telling the truth is absolutely imperative if for no other reason than for their own health.
To the Ephesians Paul wrote, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25). Let every word you speak pass through three narrow gates‑‑IS IT NEEDFUL, IS IT KIND, IS IT TRUE? Yes, by our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned.
Resource Reading: Ephesians 4:17-32.