Jesus Talks About Lying

David Bast

READ : Matthew 5:33-37

When I was a boy I used to watch a television program called “Truth or Consequences.” It was a funny little game where contestants were required to answer a question truthfully or suffer a penalty.

What would it be like if real life were that way? Imagine a world where everyone had to pay an immediate penalty whenever they said anything false or misleading. There wouldn’t be any more television commercials. Salespeople would all need extensive job retraining. Politicians would say things like, “You know, my opponent is actually the better candidate.”

But it’s not “truth or consequences” in real life. People don’t tell the truth. They twist it, break it, distort or disguise it in a hundred ways. They slander, gossip, create false impressions, exaggerate, perjure themselves, utter falsehoods and often pay no immediate penalty. It even seems to benefit them.

When Jesus tells his followers not to swear, what he really means is that for Christians, truthfulness should not be reserved for special occasions only, when we are bound by an oath. When he tells us let our “yes” mean “yes,” he means we should speak plainly and without misleading or evasive statements. The first stereos were known as “hi fi’s,” short for “high fidelity.” Christians ought to be high fidelity people, who neither distort nor obscure nor misrepresent the truth.


“May the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Amen.