Commandment 9 is another commandment on how we are to treat people. And this one is critical. This one is not a physical act, like adultery, murder, and theft. Rather it is an act that often is formulated in the mind and spoken of behind the scenes (in darkness). It is that act where an outside source (someone else) must determine the truth in the words spoken against someone else.
And the commandment is, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
You see when someone makes a false testimony (gossips) against you; he/she violates your reputation, and in the court of law, deprives you of your rights. Giving false testimony is lying and slander with an intent to destroy through vengeance or theft.
And so to make this relevant, have you ever had a time in your life where someone said something untrue about you? What was his/her motive behind the untruth? Have you ever said something untrue about someone else? What was your motive?
I know in my times of having untruthful words used against me, they have either made me laugh or tore me up. One that has made me laugh is from a lady who attended another church. She called LH a cult. So if that is true, those who believe in LH and the cause LH has for Christ are part of a cult. And just watch out, the “Jim Jones Kool-Aid” is coming! LOL
But one that has broken my heart is from some who have called me a control monger and a micro-manager. Though it’s laughable because I really could be accused of giving others too much rope and freedom, it still hurts because someone is finding fault with me. And my spirit is to be a peacemaker.
So to have someone accuse me of something that is not true, literally breaks my heart. And I personally have to wrestle with not letting the untrue words control me. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”; sorry, but not true. Bones heal, but words can penetrate the soul for a lifetime.
And so we have to learn to let our identity and our esteem be found in God, and not in men. And we also have to learn to treat others as we wish to be treated.
So when you want to say something untrue about someone to hurt him/her or to get back at him/her, don’t do it! If you do, you are not within God’s will. Instead, you are now the prodigal left to his own to figure out life and the messes you will create for yourself.
In fact, you want to know how God feels about this command, go to Proverbs 6: 16-19: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes (pride), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
It just doesn’t get any clearer than that.
So when a person is doing these detestable things that ultimately bring harm to others, yet says “he loves God”, HE’S A LIAR.
1 John 4: 20 states, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
In other words, if you can’t treat your fellow man (God’s creation) the way God would treat him, then how can you say, “you love God”? What you display here on this earth toward others shows where your heart truly is. And if you have only lies (false testimony) to spread and share, then that is what your heart truly is – a BIG LIE.
James 1: 26-27 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
So what comes out of the mouth is a true indication of where your heart is. And we have to wrestle with this all of the time because our nature is to fight back with words – to say stuff that we know will hurt the other person. It is a pollution of the world that we can overcome though by always thinking, “What will this do if I say it?” before ever speaking it. In other words, Jesus always needs to remind us, “Would you want this said about you?”
But there is a difference between the heart of the occasional slip up (mistake) and the heart that never has anything good to say. The heart that makes the occasional slip up lets his sin nature override his spirit nature for a short time. But then, when the heart is convicted by the Holy Spirit, he apologizes and strives not to make the same mistake again.
But the heart that consistently gossips, spreads lies, and talks negatively about others has an issue. He make look good on the outside (very religious), but is only spouting from the mouth what is within – hate, dissension, and a lack of love for God and his neighbor.
In fact if there is someone who knows all about false testimony, it is Jesus, our Savior. This is what ultimately got Him crucified as part of God’s plan. Matthew 26: 59-68 provides us this story.
But bearing false testimony is not merely limited to the court of law, as Jesus knows. In fact it is probably more evident outside the courts because what you falsely say about another can ultimately lead to a decision having to be made in court.
One of Solomon’s greatest cases – “Whose baby is it?” – would have never been brought before him if someone weren’t lying. If the prostitute who accidently smothered her child to death while sleeping had not taken her friend’s baby, claiming it hers, then there never would have been a case.
So bearing false testimony, lying against or about another, gossiping slanderous words to destroy are simply not part of God’s will – He doesn’t do that with us. He speaks the truth. He speaks the facts. And He speaks in love with the intent it brings about change in our lives.
And that is how Solomon knew who was the rightful mother of the baby – she loved the baby and wanted no harm to come to him by letting the liar have him.
If our words aren’t going to benefit/help others, then we need to keep what we are thinking to ourselves. And when tempted to slander someone, then pray the Holy Spirit give you the strength to overcome what your nature wants you to do.
So have you said anything falsely about anyone lately? Have you hurt another with your words? Then God invites you to come to Him and apologize. If this is an ongoing issue for you, then seek out the Holy Spirit to convict you before you ever speak a word. Today is the day to get back in God’s will.