The Ninth Commandment


Justice-Seeking: Tell the truth


Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.

Exodus 20:16

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.


Lying seems to be a way of life in our modern society. There are many ways to lie. There are white lies - lies that seem to do more good than harm. There are lies by omission or exaggeration. And, then there is false testimony, lies that tell an untruth about someone else. Sometimes the false testimony is used to get ourselves out of trouble, sometimes to get someone else into trouble, or both. Often the attitude is "What's the big deal?" But the Bible takes lying, particularly false testimony, so seriously that it is included in the Ten Commandments.

What's the big deal? The Israelites would have understood this commandment in the context of their judicial system. But certainly the meaning can be expanded to speaking the truth in all situations involving one's neighbor. False testimony harms another person's reputation. It can result in undeserved punishment, even prison or death. Jesus himself encountered false testimony in his trial before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:56).

Giving false testimony, lying, breaks our relationships with each other and dishonors God. Telling the truth is a virtue that God looks for in his people. Psalm 15 describes a righteous person and verse 3 sheds light on the subject of false testimony (v. 3).

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 Those whose walk is blameless,
who do what is righteous,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
3 who have no slander on their tongues,
who do their neighbors no wrong,
who cast no slur on others;
4 who despise those whose ways are vile
but honor whoever fears the LORD;
who keep their oaths even when it hurts;
5 who lend money to the poor without interest
and do not accept bribes against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.


How well did you listen to the story?

Q. What does the principle find?
A. A broken window.

Q. Who does he think broke the window?
A. Skink.

Q. Who sent the principal a note accusing Skink?
A. Spike.

Q. How did Granny know the identity of the author of the note?
A. She recognized the handwriting.


This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.


Why does God think telling the truth is so important?


The Bible tells us, "God is not a human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill" Numbers 23:19 As Christians we are flesh and blood representatives of God to our world (2 Corinthians 3:3). Telling the truth fulfills the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-39). When we tell the truth we are showing that we love God and we love our neighbors as ourselves.


Have you hurt someone by telling a lie about him or her? This week talk to them and ask for their forgiveness.
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