Throughout Scripture, one of the central bonding agents in true community is a foundational commitment to truth-telling. Lies are corrosive, and the truth is a great adhesive.
The ninth commandment says not to bear false witness against your neighbor (Ex. 20:16). The Colossians are told not to lie to one another, seeing that they have put off the old man with its evil practices (Col. 3:9). The Israelites are told not to be false with one another (Lev. 19:11). And in Scripture, whenever deception is honored it is honored as an act of war—lying to the enemies of God who have forfeited their right to the truth. The midwives to Pharaoh would be one example, and Rahab protecting the spies is another. In time of war, you are not trying to develop unity with the enemy.
But when unity is the assigned goal, when it is desired as God requires us to desire it, a commitment to the truth at all times is essential. There are three aspects to this. First, remember at all times that the Truth is personal, and that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Those things cannot be separated. We walk on the way, we live in the life, and we tell the truth. Second, we are to guard against every form of ethical relativism that would make room for lies, whether white or not, in your relationships with others. And last, reject the kind of selfishness that makes lying easy when caught in some aspect of that selfishness. This means that the journey to truth telling is a journey that begins with speaking the truth to yourself.
When we begin to lie, we are the first liar, but we are also frequently the first dupe. We don’t start by telling other people lies. We begin by telling ourselves that we are not lying—which is the first lie.
So this is why we must be committed to the truth. We are building a church community, we are building a community of churches, and we are to do it with a fierce love of the truth. After all, the truth died for us.