Recently in church, we talked about the 9th commandment. “You will not bear false witness.” In other words, “Don’t lie.”
It’s part of a 10-week series about the 10 Commandments, and I have to admit … it’s been tough for me. Week after week, Pastor Glen Blumer stands up on the platform and tells me something I find very hard to swallow: “You can’t follow 10 simple rules.”
See, I’m a competitive guy by nature, so my first instinct is to take each commandment as a challenge.
Glen says, “You can’t follow this commandment.”
Bob says, “Wanna bet?”
Take the 9th commandment. Don’t lie. OK, I won’t. I mean, how easy is THAT? In fact, if I so much as FEEL THE URGE to lie, I’ll just shut my mouth. If I don’t say ANYTHING, it’s all good, right?
Yes! Yes! YES! (Fist pump with each “yes”) Take that, Blumer!
But as I’ve reflected on the Word recently, God’s been laying some stuff on my heart. If I just sit here and keep my mouth shut, I’m not lying … but I’m also not speaking the truth.
So I wonder: “Is keeping silent really the same as not lying?”
Samuel tells us, “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
We can’t serve Him in truth if we never say anything. To be disciples of Christ, we must speak the truth as a way of demonstrating our love for others. We must share the Gospel, those “great things He has done for you,” as Jesus commanded when He said, “Go and make disciples.”
But I have to ask … do we really understand what’s at stake here? Do we understand what will be lost if you and I keep our mouths shut? Do we comprehend the consequences of FAILING to speak the TRUTH?
In Revelation 20, John shares a very dark vision about this failure. “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
THE LAKE OF FIRE, people. This is not a place for the faint of heart. You go there, you better MAN UP cuz this is where your senses go HAYWIRE. No sight that isn’t terrifying. No smell that isn’t repulsive. No taste that isn’t bitter. No emotion that isn’t agony. No sense of touch that isn’t pure, 100 percent pain, from your skin through your bones to your very soul.
And we’re not talking a short visit. This is eternity. Forever. As in, “This will NEVER END.”
Let me tell you something, friends — the lake of fire is NOT where I plan on spending MY eternity.
But that’s where the whole “keep silent” plan starts to fall apart.
See, we gotta do more than just “get mine.” When Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He was also saying, “If you value an eternity in heaven for yourself, then you MUST value it for others.”
And hear this.
If I fail to share the Gospel with someone I know, and they die today without hearing the good news, then my silence was the greatest sin of all — because I did not even give them the chance to know Jesus.
Can you live with that? I can’t.
So I have to admit defeat — yet again — on this weekly challenge. Keeping my mouth shut won’t work. Cuz if I’m silent about salvation … well … I might as well tell you there’s no such thing.
And that would be lying to your face.