“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16
Q: What is the ninth commandment?
A: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we shouldn’t deceive, betray, or speak badly about other people, but instead, we should defend them, speak well of them, and build them up.
Do you know what the legal system is? It is our system of government in the United States where we attempt to make sure people follow the laws of the land. If people break those laws they get in trouble. The legal system exists to make sure that innocent people don’t get in trouble and guilty people do get in trouble and have to pay for their crimes.
In our country, this system is very complicated and many people can get involved, but in the times when the Bible was written, things were simpler. In those days, what was most important were witnesses. These were people who saw a crime take place. They would be expected to tell the truth about what they saw. If two or three people were united about what they saw, then a judge would usually bring punishment on the person who committed the crime. Sometimes this punishment was very serious, like the death penalty! In this way, it was all about the witnesses.
In light of this, can you see why it would be important to follow the ninth commandment?
Consider Proverbs 25:18,
“A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.”
- Why would the author of this proverb use such strong and violent language in this verse?
- How would you feel if you were accused of something you didn’t do and had to bear the penalty for it?
- Does this remind you of the Gospel? How so?
Our Father, thank You that Yyour died for people who are liars. Thank You that Jesus took our place and suffered, as a liar, where we should have suffered. He had accusers bear false witness against Him and as a result bore our punishment. This is amazing grace, to say the least. Because we love Your grace to us, may we never lie in order to hurt someone or cause them to be unjustly punished. In Jesus’ name, Amen.