Finish, then, with lying and tell your neighbour the truth. For we are not separate units but intimately related to each other in Christ. (JBP)
We are told from an early age to tell the truth. We are reminded that lying is bad. Our text today tells us why it is good to tell the truth and bad to lie. We belong to each other, we are interdependent. If my word cannot be trusted, then it affects my relationships with others. If we are careless with the truth, there can be no community because there can be no trust.
Telling the truth doesn’t mean blurting out all we know. Some people do not have the right to hear the truth I know. And the way we tell the truth matters: we are to speak the truth in love. We speak the right truth to the right person at the right time.
And truth is not the same as factuality. For example, I can say that I went to church on Sunday when all I did was drive to the church carpark, take a look at who was there, and then driving off. It is not enough that my words convey factual information. Those words must not encourage deception or deliberately cause misunderstanding.
Telling the truth means we are not intending to deceive. Our words carry weight. Others need to trust them. Otherwise, community breaks down. Truthfulness goes beyond words and into the heart behind the words.