Welcome everyone to He Restores My Soul. I am Heidi Howerton with my wonderful, amazing, fantastic friend…
Oh, my name is Jani Ortlund but I’m not sure I’m the friend she’s talking about. Oh, Heidi, you’re great. Thank you for loving me so much.
It’s Good To Be With You Today
It’s good to be with you guys. Today. We are continuing our study on the 10 commandments and today we are at the ninth commandment.
Can you believe we are already at the ninth commandment?
I know I’m sitting here at the table thinking – oh my goodness, we’re really at the ninth one. There’s only one more left after this.
Yes, I hope our listeners have enjoyed it as much as we have. We’ve really learned a lot as we’ve gone into them and I hope that there are children around maybe even the world because we do hear from people in other countries outside the US regarding this podcast, children who are learning God’s loving law, that’s what we want them to see that this is God’s love letter written to us. He’s telling us how life really works best.
Today, I want to talk about honesty
And today as we talk about the ninth commandment, we want to talk about honesty. The ninth commandment says, You shall not bear false witness. Well, I confessed when we talked about the eighth commandment, that I am a thief. Today, I have to confess that I’m also a liar.
Oh Jani Ortlund, who would’ve thought?
An Example From Jani’s Childhood
Well, when I was younger, much younger, really, but old enough to know better Heidi, I mean, I was in third grade. The story comes from so I was nine. My dad had an empty metal band aid box. They’re all paper now. But back then they were made of metal. And he kept that in his dresser in that metal box, he kept all his loose change. He’d come home and empty his pockets out. He didn’t like all that loose change rattling around in his pocket. Well, I discovered it one day while I was helping my mother put away the clean laundry. And it was just too much of a temptation for me. Soon, I began stealing a nickel here a dime there, every once in a while a quarter when I hoped daddy wouldn’t notice. I was sure he wouldn’t because it was full of coins. And then on my way back to school after my lunch break, and those days we walked home in the olden days, we walked home for lunch, we had an hour and a half break then and then we’d walk back, I went right by our neighborhood dime store, which had a whole counter of candy. And I would spend that money. Oh, on some of my favorites like jaw breakers or Sputnik bubble gum. I wonder if any of our older listeners remember what that is? They were blue.
Do you know what they are, Heidi?
No, I’m just thinking about what a sweet tooth you still have today. So this doesn’t surprise me very much.
Shh! That’s our secret, Heidi. No I really do.You know how I struggle with sugar attacks.
But anyhow, I would go and I would, I would buy candy.
Well, of course my friends in the third grade they’re at Robert Fulton Elementary School in Minneapolis began to wonder how I had so much money to spend on candy and so soon had to make up various lies to cover my stealing. Let me add here that the breaking of one commandment seldom stands alone. Usually when you break one, you need to break another to cover up.
Well fortunately, I eventually grew weary of remembering which lies I had told to whom, and I stopped stealing my dad’s change. I don’t know if I ever even fessed up to him. He’s in heaven now. So I’ll maybe we’ll make it right when I see him one day.
But I must tell our listeners that my thievery was not without consequences. On my next visit to our family dentist, he discovered thirteen cavities from all that sugar. My mom couldn’t believe it. She thought I wasn’t brushing my teeth. It was just that that sugar was sitting in my mouth all day long until eight o’clock at night when I brushed my teeth. Oh my goodness.
Honesty Stabilizes Relationships
I don’t know how many of you can look back at your younger years and remember an episode where you stole something, or you lied about it. What kind of God would tell us that we must be honest, that we should never bear false witness against our neighbor, that we should be truthful? Well, I’ll tell you what kind of God that is. He’s a loving father that understands the only way to stabilize relationships is through honesty. There are no stable relationships built on dishonesty. Without truth, there’s no trust and without trust, there is no authentic love. Our loving father forbids every kind of falsehood because he values honesty, integrity, clarity among his family members.
Our Culture of Lies
Through the ninth commandment, the Lord gives us protection and security as we grow close to each other and build relationships. But we are liars by nature. And we live in a culture of lies. Think of all the ways dishonesty, lying affects our daily lives. Think of the bias in the news. Do you sometimes wonder, you know, is there any news station I can listen to that will tell me the truth? Or what about the misrepresentation among advertisers? Can you trust the commercials you hear or see? Or this time of the year when we’re in the middle of a presidential election? What About false promises from politicians? Those of you who are out in the workforce, maybe you’ve dealt with slander. Those of you who are at home, maybe it’s gossip over your back fence. What about flattery for our own gain or careless laziness to speak the exact truth, or even our passive silence when the truth is not being told.
The Whole Bible Talks About Honesty
We see lying and deceit, and self promotion all around us, and it’s recorded all throughout Scripture as well, from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22:15. We’ll talk about Genesis 3 in a minute, but that verse at the end of the Bible, almost the final verse in final chapter at least, Revelation 22:15 talks about everyone who loves and practices falsehood not being able to have access to the tree of life. They wouldn’t be allowed into the city of Jerusalem.
The whole Bible talks about honesty, truth, and it has stories of people who were deceitful and lying. Think of the Garden of Eden. The serpent tempted Eve with deception. He said, “Did God really say?” Kind of twisted God’s words? That’s in Genesis 3:1. When Adam and Eve, who refused to listen to God’s loving law to them, had to answer to him for their disobedience, they were reduced to finger pointing and more deception. Adam points to Eve “the woman whom you gave me” and Eve points to the serpent. And I must say who of us, when about to be caught in a compromising situation has not pointed the finger, or lied to protect our own self image and reputation.
You see, we all live in the midst of deception and lies. But God loves us in this command by making truth and purity and honor the foundation of our life together. He’s saying strive toward this. God teaches us this very thing in Joshua 7 with Akin. And then again in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira both in the Old Testament at the beginning of the formation of the nation of Israel and then in the New Testament, in the early stages of the Christian church. We see that deceivers are punished by God and not just a little slap on the wrist, he takes their very lives. Oh, honesty must be very important to God. He longs for our relationships to be based on trust, authenticity, faithfulness, truth. Why? What kind of God would decree the ninth commandment?
I love how there’s so many verses that point us to God’s character and his love of truth. We love and worship the God of truth. Isaiah 65:16. Jesus Himself said, I am the truth. John 14:6. And the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, who guides us into all the truth. John 16:13. Right there we see the God of truth. Jesus is the truth. And the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth guides us we see God Christ and the Holy Spirit. We see the Trinity And their love of the truth that God is the truth. That’s so beautiful.
Yes, that’s the kind of God who would give us this commandment. I love it.
We belong to and represent to the world, the one who calls himself Truth. This is our God. This is the one who offers himself to us as the delight of our hearts and out of his love for us. He calls us to join with him in being truthful. But we’re not. We are liars, even as Christians, Paul had to tell the Colossians in chapter 3 of Colossians, verses 9 and 10,
“Do not lie to one another seeing that you’ve put off the old self with its practice and put on the new self.”Colossians 3:9-10
So even Christians lie to one another.
Why Do We Lie?
I think in order to live out this ninth commandment, we need to ask ourselves a deeper question: “Why do we lie?” After all, if we know Christ were children of the father of truth, why would we align ourselves with Satan who is called a liar and the father of lies?
Why do we lie? Well, our immediate answer is because we’re sinners through and through. And that is true. But let’s search our own hearts a little deeper.
Because We Are Angry or Hurt
Sometimes I don’t know about you, but as I’ve looked at my own life, I think I could generalize this and say, sometimes we lie because we’re angry or hurt and we want to strike back so we color the truth a bit, exaggerating to protect ourselves. As a child, a relative once told me, “Your uncle didn’t really throw the alarm clock at her, but I told the judge he did because that’s the only way your aunt could get a divorce.” Hmm.
Because We Are Embarrassed
Other times we lie because the truth would be too embarrassing. “Oh, my weight, oh, well, it’s somewhere around…”
Fear of the Consequences
Sometimes we lie out of the fear of the consequences. Oh, Officer, I’m so sorry. I thought the speed limit was 55 miles per hour on this country road, even though I drive it every day on the way home from work.
One reason we lie, I think is self-exaltation. We want to make ourselves look better than we really are, like maybe a falsified resume to get that job. Other times we just keep silent, inferring that a circulating lie is the truth by not speaking up or we hide the truth. You know, sometimes I have to wonder, “Do I really need to declare that honorarium as income?” You see, we are spring loaded to do the work of the devil. And then we knowingly find some way to rationalize it.
How Can We Stop?
Well, how can we stop? My behavior i think is always rooted in what I believe. Yours is too. Head knowledge is never enough to stop sin. Only heart love is. You can preach at me as long as you want to about how I should behave, and I might try for a while but I can’t keep it up. But it is only when the Lord enters in way down deep into my behavior-management setting in my soul. That’s when I begin to change. You see, I sin—and I believe you sin—because something or someone feels more significant and feels more important to me at that moment than Jesus Christ.
When we stop loving God, we start forging our own way, and then we become very dangerous. After all, the devils believe in God, but they don’t love God. And that’s the difference. That is why heart-felt love for God is our deepest need. Our hearts need to be thrilled with the God of truth. I need a heart change, not just at conversion, but all along the pathway to heaven, day by day.
How does this heart change happen? Well, I can’t just jerk myself up by my collar and make myself change. I can’t just talk myself into it. I’ll tell you what helps me the most. I need constant daily exposure to the bountiful beauty and enticing love of God over and over again, in Bible study, in teaching and meditation, in Bible memorization, in music, and fellowship, in prayer.
Jesus tells us that all things are possible to one who believes. Are you weak here as I am, then let’s cry out to Him together. As the Father of the boy with unclean spirit cried out to Jesus in Mark 9,
“I believe. Help my unbelief.”Mark 9:24
We can cry out to God and ask him to increase our love and faith and belief in him. Every time I’ve prayed that prayer, he has answered it.
Walk In The Light
Jani, as you’ve been teaching, something that I’ve thought of that helps me too, with this commandment in particular is walking in the light. And it’s just when I sin and I feel that conviction in my heart, like I’ve spoken a lie to someone, and given there’s different circumstances of when we repent to that person. But if it’s the right circumstance, and it’s stirring in my heart, and I feel that heaviness on my soul, it’s just going up to them and admitting it, which is horrifying to do because you, you think nobody lies these days, or I don’t hear people apologize for lying that much. But if I feel it in my heart, and I pray about it to the Lord, I’ll go to the person and just say, “I’m so sorry, this is so embarrassing, but I’ve lied to you. Will you please forgive me?” And somehow over the years through that the Lord has been faithful to help me lie less and less and less. I think walking in the light it’s no longer scary, but it also exposes our sin and it gives us a bad taste for it in our mouths.
Yes, that’s so good. And, you know too after experiencing that repentance with them, you don’t want to have to do that again. Sorry. And so that also helps you.
I think it helps the Holy Spirit do that heart change inside of me. It’s just owning it and saying you’re so right are saying to Mike, “Mike, I you I lied to you about this. I am so sorry.”
Yeah, that’s really good. We’re going to talk about that some in our next podcast and how we live this out in front of our children as well, Heidi, that’s such a good point. It really helps us to tell the truth. If we know that we’re going to take that principle from 1 John 1 about walking into light with each other and apply it to when we lie.
Coming To A Close
Well, let’s bring this podcast to a close this way. If we love God for being a truthful God, if our hearts feel warmed and delighted with the beauty of the God of truth, we will be less inclined to lie. We will be more sensitive to being completely honest. So let’s ask God to restore our souls, to help our hearts way down deep, where behavior change takes place, to restore our souls and make us truth-loving, truth-telling Daughters of the King. And we know God can restore our souls. That’s why we call this podcast He Restores My Soul from Psalm 23. May He restore your soul as you’ve listened today.