"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
- Exodus 20:16
The ninth commandment, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor," can be a little harder to keep than the others. We are not to lie. There are bald-faced lies, of course. (I resent that term, by the way.). But there are times when you don't want to tell the truth because you know it will hurt someone.
In fact, when a survey was done in which people were asked their reasons for lying, the number one explanation given was the fear of offending someone.
Maybe you were invited to someone's home for a meal, and it was awful. After the meal, you felt completely nauseated. Then the person who prepared it asked, "How did you like the meal?"
"Well, I have never seen those particular ingredients put together in such a way!"
You didn't want to say what is true, so maybe you said something else.
We tell these little white lies, so called, every day. When someone calls your house and you don't want to talk, you tell your spouse or child or roommate, "I'm not home." Or you say, "I love your outfit" when you don't. Or, "The check is in the mail" when it isn't. Or, "I was just getting ready to call you" when you weren't. Or, "I forgot" when you didn't.
Gossip is another way we can lie. Gossip topples governments, wrecks marriages, ruins careers, destroys reputations, causes nightmares, spawns suspicions, and generates grief. Even speaking the very word makes a hissing sound like a serpent.
Apply the THINK principle before you repeat something: Is it truthful? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
THINK before you speak. And if it doesn't pass this test, then don't say it.