by Eddie Snipes

This content is part of a series.

Do Not Bear False Witness (8 of 8)
Series: The Ten Commandments from a New Testament Perspective
Eddie Snipes

Exodus 20 gives the commandment not to bear false witness, but the details of this command are given in Exodus 23:1-3
"You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 "You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. 3 "You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute.

Most people understand that this commandment warns us not to give a false testimony against another, but there is much more to this commandment than testifying against another person. This passage speaks against gossip, leading people to believe a lie, following a crowd to do evil, following the culture who perverts justice and even showing partiality against someone. Let's break these down into our common lives to see how this commandment applies to the New Testament Christian walk.

Unrighteous Witness
"You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness."

I once heard an illustration that compared our words to a tube of toothpaste. It is easy to get the toothpaste out of the tube, but impossible to get it back in. Once we launch our words, if they are destructive, the damage is done. Even if you apologize, the wounded trust does not heal. We can do many things to people that can be rectified, but tale bearing (or gossip) creates wounds that can last a lifetime. Violated trust is very difficult to regain if it is even possible to fully regain. The Bible says that an offended brother is harder to be won than a city (Proverbs 18:19). The Bible also warns us not to violate the trust of another and also not to trust a gossip. Look at these passages from Proverbs:
Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
Proverbs 18: ...

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