Matthew 5:33-37 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
For students to keep to their words is a difficult thing. It is imperative they realize the weight of their words. What Jesus is saying here is: You shall fulfill your oaths to the Lord and to others.
Seriously, how flaky are our students? They say yes to a lot of good things, but don’t know how to look for and wait for the great thing to say yes to. This is why youth pastors need to teach on LYING in their youth ministries.
Jesus is truth, we believe in His truth, so therefore we need to tell the truth. Being a truth teller is a human obligation for those following the ways of Jesus.
I simply asked my students: Why do you lie? Is lying more about protecting yourself? Is lying a coping mechanism to cover up fears, embarrassment, and humiliation?
I would argue that probably 75% of our students lie about 60% of the time especially to their parents and teachers (and maybe to their youth pastor). Think about all the white (or little) lies that lead to a web of lies that are students are very likely to get into.
I had a student tell me: “Jeremy, I am not a liar until I get caught.” Interesting….To be considered a liar, means someone else calls you out on it. That is assuming they are willing to admit that they lied.
So the question still remains: At any level do we have the right to lie?
One can only refer to the classic WWII Nazi scenario. Essentially if you were a common German who was sheltering and hiding Jews in your home and a Nazi solider came knocking at your door asking “if there are any Jews?” what would you say?
Glen Stassen in Kingdom Ethics argues that “those who are threatened and oppressed may be permitted in times of moral emergency to suspend truth telling temporarily in some contexts.” (388)
Jesus said it best (like He always does): Let your yes be your yes and your no be your no.
I challenged my students to do some soul searching by asking the question of: What is the biggest lie, you have everyone believing about yourself, right now?
I called my students to come out of hiding and to stop pretending. If they (the students) are lying, cheating, and stealing; to stop. To live in the truth means to always tell the truth.