16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
What does that mean exactly? To me it always inspired thoughts of a court room, and perhaps in part it does refer to that, but I get the feeling it goes so much deeper than that. When you get right down to it this verse is referring to false testimony, slander, lying, deception and well, dishonesty in general. Old testament justice, in cases of courtroom false testimony would punish the liar in the way the accused would be punished as we can see in Deuteronomy.
16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, 17 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. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, 19 then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you.
Pretty serious stuff. In Proverbs it says this;
5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who pours out lies will not go free.
I am the worst with lying. I love it, and I think I'm pretty good at it. What I don't love is the after effects. We all lie, and anyone who says they don't lie is probably lying to you at that very moment. and why? Why do we lie? We know what trouble it will get us into, we all know the stress, the having to tell more lies to cover the one small lie we just told. I mean, come on, this is sesame street stuff. We learned this when we were 5! Let's watch some veggie tales and see how Larry Boy deals with a lie.
But why is lying bad? What about it is harmful? It all comes back to trust. If you are lying it means you have probably done something unrighteous and you want to cover it up. When your heart is set on righteous things and you trust in God to put a righteous want in your heart then you have nothing to hide and honesty becomes easy. However when you start lying, you remove your trust from God and place your trust in your lie to keep you secure.
15 You boast, “We have struck a bargain to cheat death
and have made a deal to dodge the grave.
The coming destruction can never touch us,
for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception.”
17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Lying is a problem, especially for me. God has been doing a work in my life lately and I feel I can not lie anymore. Every time I do lie, I feel sick until I come forward and tell the truth. If you can, stop lying as soon as possible, because one day you may receive the same call to honesty as me, and then you will have to be honest about all the lies you've told over your lifetime. And the people you come clean to will be your wife, your friends, your parents, your boss, basically anyone you've been dishonest too. That can damage relationships, and make things quite awkward for a while. However after the awkwardness passes, I'm sure you'll find your relationships are ten times better than they ever were before.
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
If you trust in lies, then your heart is not with God. So trust in the Lord, don't succumb to the temptation of lies, be strong and courageous and love the Lord your God with all your heart.