“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
The essence of this verse seems simple enough: don’t lie. It’s a classic Judeo-Christian concept. It’s one of the ten commandments. It’s pretty straightforward, and it may seem superfluous to expand much upon the idea. But this verse makes it clear that there’s more to this practice than just a rule.
Just before this verse, Paul explains that the truth of Christ is that your old self should be put aside, and you should be renewed by the Holy Spirit and put on a new self, created in the image of God in all righteousness and holiness. He is saying that Christians must put to death the sinful self that once lived in them, and take on a new life with Christ of purity and holiness. It’s not insignificant then that his first instruction in putting on this new self is to speak the truth and put away falsehood. But why?
In John 8:44, Jesus says that Satan himself is the father of lies. He says that when Satan lies, he is speaking in his native language. Therefore, when we speak falsehood we speak the language of Satan. To speak lies is to speak deception and destruction. It is no wonder that Paul emphasizes that we are each members of one another in Christ. By speaking deceit to a neighbor, we are causing harm to our own selves, tearing down the Body of Christ.
In contrast, in John 14:6, Jesus says that He is the Way and the Truth and the Life. If Satan is the father of lies, and Christ himself is truth, there’s no question about which we should strive for. Christ did not deceive, he did not lie, he did not mislead. Nor should we. Lies are spoken with the intent to deceive, to hide the truth. It’s never beneficial to the Body of Christ. It’s never acceptable.
If followers of Christ cannot be known as trustworthy and truthful, then how can their testimony be believed? How can we as Christians bear the name of Jesus, and then speak falsehood to a neighbor if indeed we have put on a new self, created after the very likeness of God? With every lie, we allow the world a foothold to question the faith which we profess. With every lie, we tear apart the body of Christ of which we are all a part.
Let us speak the truth in love, let us boldly proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ, and let us never nullify our testimony with falsehood.
We know that you are Truth. In you there is no deception, no falsehood. Renew us with your Holy Spirit and let us take on a new self, molded after your own character. Help us to speak truth always.
In Jesus’ Name,