God's ninth commandment reads, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). This commandment forbids all that distorts the truth or damages the reputation of another. It requires love and promotion of the truth and the good name of my neighbor.
God is a God of truth; He cannot lie. Satan, however, is the father of lies. These two are opposites. "Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD; but they that deal truly are His delight" (Proverbs 12:22).
A person can be tempted to lie for several reasons, such as to avoid undesired consequences, to achieve honor, to make gains, or to harm enemies. Lying is very self-centered; it deceives others for self-convenience. The following examples illustrate some of these motives.
What motive underlies each of the following examples of lying?
"I couldn't help it, Dad! Someone backed into it when it was parked in the mall parking lot," Ted explained to his father as he viewed his car's scratched and dented fender.
"Why, if he knew that I scraped a parked car," Ted reasoned, "He would never let me drive his car again!"
"I plan to tour Europe for four weeks with a girlfriend from school," Sue responded after several of her co-workers asked her what she was planning to do after graduating from high school.
"They sure were impressed," Sue thought, "even if there was no truth in it."
"Well, it may not look like it, but that material will hold up well - it will last you for years," responded Mr. Tenner, a car salesman, to a customer's question regarding a car's poor quality upholstery.
"How can I sell the car if I tell the truth?" he reasons.
Into Thine hand I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, 0 LORD God of truth.
- Psalm 31:5
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.