3:251 – Bearing False Witness
#faithbites #faithjourney false
I was debating politics with someone, and they brought up how can we as Christian men, bear false witness. It is a concept I was only marginally familiar with, so I figured we could all learn together. We throw around so many terms and ideas, it’s important to understand what they mean.
Exodus 20:16 says “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” and is the ninth commandment for many denominations, eight for others. This commandment is also a natural consequence of loving your neighbor as yourself. (Romans 13:9)
What does this mean? Is it the same as lying? Is it the same as perjury? Lying is discouraged but it is not the same as perjury. There are some cases, where lying may be needed but perjury is always a false witness. There is also a third category that is just being unkind.
Here are some examples.
If you can’t tell by now, it’s a tricky road. There are several examples in the Bible of why God told us not to bear false witness.
An eye for an eye. A life for a life. This is the punishment for bearing false witness. As we see in our Deuteronomy text, if you bear false witness in a court and it is proven, you should have done to you what you wanted done to the accused. There isn’t a grey area here.
We are told that bearing false witness is a sin. That those who do it will not go unpunished. We must not follow the crowd and stand up for what is right.
In this day and age, it’s hard to know what’s true. Sure, we can have opinions about things. We also much educate ourselves on why we believe what we believe. We must go forward and be more Christ-like by looking to the truth and not what the masses say.
This isn’t easy. I teeter on the edge of having strong opinions and bearing false witness. I have never, in a court of law, been asked to bear witness against a brother or sister. My prayer is I would always speak the truth.
Have I lied? Absolutely. Have I said mean and hurtful things? Absolutely. I pray for forgiveness on these everyday.
I hope that this little trip into what “bearing false witness” means. Let us always speak truth.
Have you ever given false testimony? Have you ever spoken ill of someone? Know that these aren’t the same things. Lying isn’t good. Speaking with unkind words isn’t good. What steps will you take to be more like God? It could be as simple as fact checking your postings before sharing. Baby steps.
Father God, you find bearing false witness to be abhorrent. Help us never to tell lies about our brothers and sisters. Remind us there is a difference between opinion, fact, lying, and bearing false witness. Help us to know the difference and be able to share openly, honestly, and kindly.
Lord, when we fail, which we know we will, forgive us. Erase the pain, the shame, and help us make right to those we bore false witness too. We love you Lord. Amen.