Moses received the Ten Commandments more than thirty-five hundred ago. Ted Koppel, a television reporter, commenting on the Commandments, stated about thirty years ago that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, not the ten suggestions. I always thought Koppel’s statement was very insightful, but I have come to the conclusion that most people don’t even recognize the Commandments as suggestions. While the followers of Christ follow the higher law of “loving God and loving neighbor,” we do not reject the Ten Commandments as requirements for living according to God’s character. The Ten Commandments represent two aspects of divine revelation.
The first aspect of revelation is God’s character. God is One, and no one else can make any claims to divinity outside of the God of the Bible. The second aspect is that the Ten Commandments have codified the sinful condition of the human soul. I believe the reason Moses wrote the commandments from a negative perspective was, precisely, to reveal the corrupt nature of the human heart. Thus, the commandment “thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” reveals that people’s natural tendencies are to lie about other people for financial gain or for revenge, etc.
The commandment “thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” is mostly concerned with the impartial adjudication of the law. False testimony stains the integrity of the legal system, and it results in injustice to the accused. God’s impartial character cannot allow the guilty to go unpunished, or the innocent to suffer unjustly. False witnesses are the poison that protect the guilty and seek to harm the innocent. Otherwise, there would be no reason to lie. God only accepts the truth, and when the truth is corrupted, injustice prevails. Christians cannot, under any circumstance, hide the truth, encourage false testimony, or defend those who slander the innocent and cover up for the guilty.
Let me give you an example. In 1995, while I was stationed with the Army in Korea, we heard the news that O. J. Simpson had killed his former wife and companion. When I heard the news, I told my chaplain assistant that Simpson did it, and that he was going to get away with it. After the sham trial, everybody knew he did it, and yet, he got away with one of the most hideous crimes anyone can imagine. I remember many people celebrating, but not because an innocent man had been acquitted. Nope. They were celebrating because a guilty man had beaten the system.
In Simpson’s case neither the lawyers, the jury, or the judge, were looking for the truth that leads to justice. They were looking for a way exonerate a guilty man, and they did. The evidence did not matter. The lawyers twisted the truth into pretzels. The judge allowed the deception to stand, and the jury entered the court room determined to exonerate a guilty man of double murder. Oh, by the way, if you still think that Simpson is looking for the murderer, you are part of the problem, and you have become blinded to the truth. For me, as a Christian, the question is not whether the lawyers were clever, whether the prosecutors were incompetent, or whether the judge was corrupt. The question for me is, did O. J. Simpson kill his ex-wife and her companion? The evidence showed that he was guilty, and he should have been sentenced to whatever punishment the law requires. End of story.
Any legal system that does not demand and enforces the truth is an abomination to the Lord, and Christians should not be a party to such system. When the legal system, the courts, the lawyers, and the judges, who are responsible for protecting the integrity of the law, abandon the truth, then, injustice will reign at all levels of the system. Christians must remember that when bearing false witness becomes the norm in public discourse, the Church will become the target of a corrupt secular government. We must also remember that the Church is the only safeguard against injustice, and when corrupt men want to rule, they must reduce the Church to an irrelevant status.
The Church, as the guardian of God’s character and as the only safeguard for justice in the world, does not have the luxury to be ignorant regarding the devil’s schemes, as Paul warned the Ephesian church (Ephesians 6:1-10). If the Church loses her capacity to discern the truth, then, society at large will devolve into deeper depravity. In O. J. Simpson’s case, the man was not on trial. The judicial system was on trial, and it failed the biblical requirement for justice. I have believed for a long time that the Simpson case is a metaphor that exposed the corruption that had been hiding under the surface. With this case, any pretensions that our legal system was dedicated to justice was exposed as a sham. Corruption permeates the entire judicial system in the United States, and this unjust system has become more blatant. The corruption in the judicial system is not limited to allowing the guilty go free. It also allows the incarceration of many innocent people, destroying their lives.
When the world abandoned the truth, it abandoned the possibility that we can find justice in the structures of men. Since justice based on truth is no longer possible in a secularized world that has not regard for God, the powerful insist that they are seeking social, environmental, racial justice. Not one of these hyphenated justices is based God’s truth and, as such, they are lipstick on a pig that does not change the nature of the pig. God’s justice cannot exist without the truth, and any human system that rejects God’s truth is, by its very nature, prejudicial, partial, and unjust. Think about it. Can anyone expect truth and justice to come from people who believe that grown men should be allowed to share restrooms with girls because they claim to be women? The Church must seek the truth at all costs because without it, even the possibility of justice will always escape us.