You shall not bear false witness

Lying about another person is condemned in the Old Testament and in the New. Jesus, himself, condemned “bearing false witness” in each of the synoptic gospels. It’s bad enough when a person tells an untruth about what that one does. It is most terribly wrong to lie about someone else.

God took a dim view of dishonesty to begin with, but he is even more negative about those who lie about others for convenience sake. Not only did God place, “You shall not bear false witness,” in the 10 Commandments to Moses and Israel, but he also had Solomon write, “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor. Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble,” (Proverbs 25:18-19 NASB).

A “club” is a heavy wooden or metal hammer. It was commonly called a “mace” and was designed to beat a person’s brains out. A sword is an offensive weapon designed to slice a person’s body. A sharp arrow is one that penetrates deeply and damages internal organs. In each case, the one who lies about another is, in the eyes of God, trying to kill.

Falsehoods told about another wound and hurt reputations, spoil families, weakens relationships and sows a field of horrible things to come. One who lies to hurt another is one of the lowest kinds of people.

One who bears false witness is also like a bad tooth or a lame foot, Solomon wrote. In lying about someone else, the liar actually hurts himself. He destroys his credibility, shows the world he will say anything to gain an advantage, and proves to the world he is not worthy of any office of trust of faithfulness. Why? It’s because one who lies about another is utterly devoid of trust or faithfulness. About verse 19, one commentator wrote, “You cannot bite on the one or walk on the other.” A person who bears false witness is one who cannot be relied upon for any reason.

What the really sad thing about this person is that he didn’t have to lie!  No one held a gun to his head and forced him to lie about another. He did it voluntarily. This means that inside this lying person is a foul mind that plots and schemes foul things he doesn’t need to do, but wants to do. And that, friends, is scary.


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