The ninth of the Ten Commandments states clearly, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Exodus 20:16)
In the book of Proverbs it says, "Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor." (25:18) it also says, "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish." (19:9)
It is clear that telling a lie is serious. To swear falsely in a court of law and bear a false witness would mean severe punishment for the person one is swearing against. But what about all of those "little lies"? It doesn't seem to be a big deal if I say I emptied the trash, but really didn't. Or if I say I'm reading a certain book, but I'm really not. Pretending to read a certain book doesn't sound bad at all. Especially when compared with testifying falsely in a court of law!
Though "little", these lies are big stumbling blocks when it comes to trust. If we can't even rely on our friends or family to tell the truth in "trivial" things, does that not affect our perception of what they say when it comes to important things? Also, it hurts to find out that our trust in a person is broken.
When we lie, even with something that seems insignificant, we must always examine our motives for lying. Are we lying to gain revenge? Vengeance belongs to God. Are we lying to hide our guilt? It is better to own it. Once we see what our "reasons" are, it is easier to see how wrong we are for lying.
So why am I equating such a big thing to such a little thing? Surely testifying in a court of law falsely isn't as bad as a little "white" lie, right? This is my reason. In God's eyes sin is sin. Whether murder or hatred, adultery or lust, big lies or little lies, it is all sin. It is a joy to God when we turn from wrong and follow Him.
Other scriptures to read and consider would be Proverbs 3:3, 8:13, 12:17-19, 14:25, Ephesians 4:25, Zechariah 8:16, and John 3:21.
Stay tuned for the upcoming article on cheerfulness.