Lying, Cheating, No-Good-for-Nothin'...
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."
It can be assumed that if one chooses to commit the above, they choose to in order to deceive the person to which they are giving testimony. So a broader definition of this commandment can be phrased, 'You shall not deceive', or 'you shall not tell a lie'. Some translations will say something along the lines of 'you shall not bear false witness', or 'Do not tell lies about others.' One can see how lies can get each and everyone of us in trouble. I am sure all of us, at one point or another, told some kind of story just to try to avoid getting in trouble, or facing consequences we knew were coming, should we get caught. Kind of sounds like a pretty major story in history, doesn't it?
Of course this commandment implies God's displeasure with lying to cover for someone else, or lying to implicate someone else even when they are not guilty. But there are references and lessons throughout the Bible where it is just blatantly obvious, dishonesty brings about nothing but trouble. And this dishonesty was brought about by both lying and/or ommission of the truth. In the Bible, besides the famous blameshifting of everyone's favorite first man, Adam, take a look at Cain and Abel. Cain murdered his brother, and when God questions him about it, he ommits the truth by saying, "How should I know? Am I my brother's keeper?"
When we answer a direct question with a question, that can raise doubts to the questioner. If we know we did something wrong, and we deny it by just hoping nobody finds out we are the guilty party, that is just as dishonest as telling an outright lie.
For example, when I was a teen, I saw this little cat walking along the side of our back yard deck, outside my bedroom window. I thought I would knock on my window to startle the cat, well, because I didn't like cats. As my knuckles hit the brittle glass (still not sure if cold weather from the dead of winter had anything to do with that or not), the small section of window pane shattered right out into the bushes in the back yard. Instead of telling anyone what I did, I used some pages of a magazine and patched up the little section. The pages I patched over happened to be similar in color to the shutters on my window. I intentionally chose to keep those shutters closed, so nobody would be the wiser. My parents would come in and out of my room for different occasions, and finally my dad went in one day and noticed a draft of cold air. Mind you, this was after a few weeks. I was somewhere else in the house when I heard my dad call out, "Jason Edward Fort?!?!?!"
I went to my room, knowing in my heart, my blunder had been discovered. Let's just say, it was not what I would call a blessed confrontation. Dishonesty didn't pay. Looking back, I really wish I had just told my dad what happened right when I did it. Did I mention that this section of broken window had just been replaced previously due to a golf ball being hit through it? That's another story.
So you see how this lying thing, or omission of the truth works, right? Look at our own government, or any government for that matter. What happens when this leader, or group of leaders, chooses their own reputation or agenda over the concerns of the nation? What happens when they sacrifice honesty to achieve their desires and agenda? What happens to the relationships with constituents? What happens with support from the people who voted them into office? And I do not mean for one side or the other, or partisan situations. I mean the overall corruption that has been prevalent within governments the world over for a long time now. Just like my references to other commandments so far, God knew what He was doing when He told us not to give false testimony. God told us through Jesus, He is the way, the Truth, and the Light. If He is Truth, then He is not lies. If He is Truth, than He does not and will not deceive. And who is the opposite of God? Who is otherwise known as the Great Deceiver? Satan himself.
Ask yourself, what lies have you told? What truth have you withheld. Take it up with God. Pray about it. Confess your sins. In the end, you will realize honesty doesn't pay. But if you continue a lie, you cheat the truth...and at that point, what good are you doing anyone?