Today, I am continuing the series on, Reading the Bible. At the moment I’m looking at the lissue of lying, truth-telling and gossip.

I know Christians who have told lies to enhance their reputation, to dupe people out of finances, and to gain employment. The fact that I know means these people were all found out and it destroyed trust. When trust has been destroyed, it’s hard to rebuild.

The book of Proverbs, warns of seven ways that relationships are broken and destroyed by those who don’t value the truth. “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

“A person who stirs up conflict” is the exact opposite of what God intends. His desire is for his people to be connected with others through a common bond of love for God so that people are safe to share their emotional wounds, their mental burdens as well as their physical difficulties. This won’t happen if people lack integrity.

Gossip can seriously damage these supportive relationships. Yet in pastoral ministry, I have more often come across the opposite problem. Some are so worried about gossip that they withhold information from those in pastoral leadership. If there are people in church leadership who are behaving in a way that brings dishonour to God, it would be helpful for the pastor to know, or if it’s the pastor behaving badly, others in leadership ought to be told.