Today we are going to look at the World in Front of the Text of the Ninth Commandment, as found in Exodus 20:16:
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
We talked yesterday about the legal understanding of bearing false witness, this is one of the foundations of law if a witness could not be counted on, to tell the truth then the court could not be trusted. Honesty is one of the foundations of a life, of a family, of a country, and of everything. If one’s word cannot be trustest, then very little can stand.
For us as Christians, this is so, so important. The most important thing that I can point to in my life is my relationships with Jesus. I need my word to be trusted so that when I testify to the goodness of Jesus in my life, people will believe me. If my word is no good or not trustworthy, then I have invalidated the witness that I can give about Jesus. I need people to trust me when I speak of the goodness of my savior. If my word can’t be trusted, no one will.
To bear false witness against another is to also tear them down. It does not honor them. It does not see them as a person for whom Jesus died. We, as Christians, are not in the tearing down business, we are in the lifting up business. We need to be careful about what we say about others, especially those with whom we disagree. There are important, super important issues that we find ourselves disagreeing with others about. Let’s not impugn another’s character wrongly. Let’s not assume the worst of each other. Let’s not pass along rumor and innuendo as truth. Let’s be firm in our convictions, but let us not bear false witness against others. Let us remember, as we always say, our word is our bond. Let’s not treat others in that way.
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