What Is a Lie?

Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 in Culture, Philosophy/Ethics, Politics

Or perhaps the question should be, “What is truth?” Unless you have been on a remote island with no remote lately, you know that there are those in the media and in government that either can not or will not address and/or admit truth or lie. While the problem is related to postmodernism’s denial of absolute truth, reflecting the foolishness of such, it is an age old problem rooted in sin. It is more subtle than Pilate’s question of Christ, “What is truth?” It is more than just a sly use of language to twist or spin. And it is nothing new – as the preacher in Ecclesiastes proclaimed, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Truth is truth; falsehood is falsehood.

Some years ago Ernie Reisinger published a book titled, Whatever Happened to the Ten Commandments? In it he gives both the biblical duties required in each commandment and the sin forbidden in each. I think it profitable to consider these things in light of the current difficulty for some to call a lie a lie and rightly discern truth. Those on both sides of the argument/aisle would do well to consider what the bible calls truth and lie – and may we be reminded of these things as well.

The 9th commandment – “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” [Exodus 20:16]

(1) Duites required in the 9th commandment:

  1. The duty of preserving and promoting truth and the good name of our neighbor. (Zech 8:16; 3 Jn 12; Prov 31:8-9; Psa 15:2)
  2. The duty to speak the truth and only the truth in matters of judgment and justice. (Prov 14:5, 25)
  3. The duty to speak the truth at all times. (Eph 4:25)
  4. The duty of rejoicing in the gifts and graces of others. (Rom 1:8; 2 Tim 1:4-5; 2 Jn 4; 3 Jn 3-4)
  5. The duty to receive a good report of others. (1 Cor 13:6-7)
  6. The duty to discourage all talebearers, flatterers and slanderers. (Prov 25:23; 26:24-25; Ps 101:5)
  7. The duty to keep lawful promises. (Ps 15:4)
  8. The duty to study and practice everything true, noble, lovely and of good report. (Phil 4:8)

(2) Sins forbidden in the 9th commandment

  1. The sin of partiality in judging, especially in courts of law. (Lev 19:15)
  2. The sin of giving false evidence. (Prov 19:5; 6:16, 19)
  3. The sin of passing an unjust sentence, calling evil good and good evil. (Prov 17:5)
  4. The sin of lying. (Isa 59:13; Psa 119:69; Lev 19:11; Col 3:9)
  5. The sin of concealing the truth. (Lev 5:1; Deut 13:8; Acts 5:2-3)
  6. The sin of speaking the truth unseasonably. (Prov 29:11)
  7. The sin of perverting the truth to a wrong meaning. (Psa 56:5; Mt 26:60-61)
  8. The sin of slandering and backbiting. (Ps 50:20; Psa 15:3)
  9. The sin of talebearing. (Lev 19:6)
  10. The sin of misconstruing intentions, words and actions. (Neh 6:6-8; Rom 3:8; 1 Sam 1:13, 15; 2 Sam 10:3)
  11. The sin of flattery. (Psa 12:2-3; Jude 16)
  12. The sin of thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves and others. (Lk 18:9-11; Rom 12:16; Ex 4:10-14)
  13. The sin of exaggerating minor faults. (Mt 7:3-5)
  14. The sin of hiding or excusing sins, when called to a free confession. (Prov 28:13; Gen 3:12-13; 4:9)
  15. The sin of raising false rumors. (Ex 23:1)
  16. The sin of groundless suspicion. (1 Cor 13:5)
  17. The sin of envying anyone’s deserved credit. (Num 11:29; Mt 21:15-16)
  18. The sin of scornful contempt and mocking. (Psa 35:15, 21; Mt 27:28-29)

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