‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour…’ (Exodus 20:16)
Is there such a thing as a little white lie? Are there times when we should refrain from telling someone the truth for fear of causing them more pain? These, and many other questions like them, have been posed and considered by many over the years and no doubt will continue to be discussed for many more to come. Many arguments could be put forward from both sides of the debate and to a neutral listener they all might seem plausible in some degree or another,
Giving false testimony is more commonly known in today’s language as lying and the commandment here is quite clear – we don’t tell lies. There is no such thing as a ‘wee white lie’ and withholding part of a truth from someone for fear of hurting them, even with the best intentions, may well lead to even more pain and hurt once that truth is fully known. But all of this doesn’t just apply to our immediate neighbour but in all situations. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan when the lawyer, when trying to justify himself asked who his neighbour was? In God’s Kingdom we are all children of God and all neighbours of one another.
But there is also another aspect to this commandment we need to consider. Telling a blatant lie is one thing but also just as bad and hurtful is slander, gossip and even idle chit chat, the latter of which is perhaps something that we are all guilty of at some time and to some degree – surely all of these should come into this commandment as well.
Lord, help us to be mindful of the words we say to others at all times and to ensure that they are full of love, care and compassion but also truthful. In Jesus name…Amen.
Question Of The Day: What did Jesus say to the ten lepers who approached Him for healing?