In our country, lying under oath can result in up to five-years in prison. Despite such a severe penalty, lying is widespread even under oath. Perhaps the main reason we lie is because of fear—fear of the consequences of being honest. But lying has at least three damaging outcomes: 1) It degrades the credibility of the person who lies—people will have less confidence in anything that person says. 2) Lying misleads the person who believes the deceit; it can cause that person to take action based upon false information. The person believing the lie can harm himself and others. Third, and most importantly, lying violates God’s holy character; it ignores the moral law God gave us to foster peace and harmony among ourselves. God said, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” In Matthew 5:37 Jesus spoke about the value of telling the truth when He addressed the issue of vows. He said instead taking a vow to back up your promise, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ anything beyond this is from the evil one.” So today, when we habitually tell the truth, our credibility rises; swearing to oaths become unnecessary.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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