“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16
I attended a parenting workshop recently. The speaker reminded us that it is very important to teach children good morals when they are young. We have to teach them right from wrong, white from black. Although there may be gray areas, it is essential to set a good foundation for their young minds to know how to distinguish right from wrong. It was a very good reminder to me of the importance of being an example for my children. For example, my husband and I always jaywalk, citing convenience or running late as an excuse. We always adopt the role of the school teacher and correct their homework. I would even lie to the kids and say that there were no more candies rather than explaining to them that candy is not good for their health.
The Lord gave the Israelites Ten Commandments through Moses to show us right from wrong. These also apply to parenting. The ninth Commandment said, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” This means more than not giving false testimony in a court setting. It also means being honest. “All you need to say is simply ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” (Matt. 5:37) God wants us to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor.” (Eph. 4:25)
God wants us to be honest, but as we become adults, we lie inadvertently for various reasons. Sometimes we feel like we cannot help but lie. But to be honest, we do it because we are self-centered. We do not want to reveal the truth of our own selfish benefit. But if we can surrender to Jesus and let Him be in charge, the Holy Spirit can transform our hearts. Then we can love and be honest people.
- Have you ever lied for your own benefit? Ask God to forgive your sin and to cleanse you.
- Have you experienced any difficulties in applying this Commandment? How might you ask God for help to deal with it?
Written by Monica Chan. Artwork by Carol Li