“You shall not bear false witnesses against your neighbor”
– Exodus 20:16
This commandment is clearly aimed against the serious and destructive perversions of the truth that radically damage the life of the community. Truth is grounded in God the Father who is the source of all truth. It is fully manifested in the beloved Son, Jesus Christ who is the truth come to set us free. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth that comes from the Father. Speaking of this matter, here are the violations on the eighth commandment or shall we call, offenses against truth.
“These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. ‘Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate” – Zechariah 8:16-17
Perjury is the willful giving of false testimony under oath. It is a lie spoken in public or giving false witnesses particularly in a court of justice. Innocent persons may condemned or guilty persons set free thereby seriously affecting the exercise of justice in the community. Someone who swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and then lies is guilty of perjury.
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” – Matthew 12:36
Detraction is publicly revealing without necessity the hidden faults of others. Our neighbors’ faults may be true and real but we should not destroy their good name by exposing them unnecessarily.
“Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.” – Psalm 101:5
Slander is publicly issuing statements that are untrue or fabricated. We commit a sin against charity and justice, for we unnecessarily deprive another of his or her right to a good name.
“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” – Proverbs 16:28
Gossiping is talking about other people unnecessarily whether the stories are true or not.
“And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” – Revelation 20:10
Libel is destroying the good name of another person by writing false details about him or her in printed materials.
More offenses against truth, which are less serious but still under the violations against the eighth commandment, are listed on my blog post, Forms Of Lying.
© Phoenix Christian Life Education 6