“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”Exodus 20:16
I grew up with a nemesis with whom I fought more times than I can remember. He was an antagonist who was built into the story of my life. He opposed me in all things and although we were “friends”, he still sought my demise. We competed in anything and everything, and I was able to best him in most things as he seemed a step behind. He did not always play fair, and he would look for any opportunity to get an advantage over me. He seemed to always have an evil plot against me.
I learned to not say anything controversial around him, and I learned to not even say anything negative about other people. If I slipped up, he would take this information and share it with classmates, teachers, and any other adult who could get me in trouble. I did not trust him as far as I could throw him, and I mostly just listened when he was around. One day, I was with a group of friends at school when I was told I needed to go to the principal’s office. My heart raced a little even though I could not recall anything I had done wrong, because this was not my first time being summoned to the principal’s office. I sat down in my usual seat in the lobby of the office and waited to hear the charges that were being brought against me.
I was called back and the principal accused me of calling his wife a name that I was not too familiar with. It was a bad word that was not part of my bad word vocabulary, so I was confident this would all be cleared up in a matter of minutes. His wife was my teacher and she was the one who reported me. I told him I had not said the word, and he leaned back in his chair and told me he had a witness who had heard me say it. I was curious to know who it was as the word never escaped my lips. When he told me, anger welled up inside of me as I learned my antagonist had struck again with a false accusation. I argued with the principal trying to defend myself, but he would not believe me and he eventually wore me down.
I finally confessed to saying the word just so I could go on with life as he did not believe me, and I felt like the suspect on The First 48. He told me he was going to swat me for what I said, and I promised myself that the pain I felt in my backside would come out in my fists towards my antagonist. My so-called “friend” bore false witness against me, and I paid the price for it. I got a spanking at school, and I also got a spanking when I got home. My reputation was not great as it was, and it went even lower after this incident. I will not say what happened to my nemesis, but he sure thought twice before bearing false witness against me again.
Bearing false witness against another always has damaging consequences to the parties involved and God forbids that we do it. The voting season brings with it commercials with each side saying things that are not true about the other. The media can no longer be trusted and they are also guilty of bearing false witness against others who are not aligned with their agenda. Although this may be true of the world, it should never be said of Christians that they bear false witness against another. God is displeased with this as it brings contention and discord. Proverbs 6 lists things that God hates and mentions lying and discord in verse 19. “A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
Are you guilty of bearing false witness against another? Do you say things that are not true to make yourself look better? Do you dislike someone and speak things about them that are not true? Do you put words into others’ mouths that is not true to push your own agenda? May our lips bear the truth, and may we be careful with the words that come out of our mouth. Zechariah 8:16 states, “These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:” May we not tear down one another with false witness, but may we encourage, exhort, and pray for one another.