“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.
Did you know that God exists as a community? What does that mean? It means that God is a Trinity. He is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God in three persons. Not three different Gods, but three persons, each fully God, that make up one God. It’s hard to understand, but by faith, we believe what the Bible teaches even though it is hard to understand.
What is important to understand is that each member of the Trinity has a selfless love for the other persons of the Trinity. They exist as an interconnected relationship for the sake of blessing those who love and fear God. Just like a husband and wife are two distinct persons but yet are one, the beauty of their relationship is seen in how they love and serve each other. Out of the overflow of this love, they love and serve their children really well.
Do you think the Son ever lies to the Father? Or the Holy Spirit speaks a falsehood to the Son? No way! They are interconnected as one and would never want to do anything to hurt that loving relationship. Would it be good for a husband to lie to his wife? Never! They are interconnected and would never want to hurt that loving relationship.
As the church, God says we are supposed to act the same way. Since we as Christians are united as a family, the church, we should put away falsehood (which is just another way of saying bearing false witness or lying). Since we are all responsible for the health of our community, we have to take seriously God’s call to speak the truth and only the truth to one another. If not, how could we love and serve those who don’t know Jesus? How could we call people to come join us in following Jesus if we were lying to each other all the time?
Consider Ephesians 4:25,
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
- Why does Paul want us to put away falsehood?
- What does being members of one another have to do with lying?
- Since God calls us to live as a loving community, how does lying destroy that?
Our Father, help us to remember who we are as members of Your community, the church. May we love each other well as family. Keep our mouths pure with words of life that can be a blessing and not words of falsehood that tear away at our community. We love Your church. Thank You for promising to build it. May we build it up as well in the way we speak. In Jesus’ name, Amen.