The Ninth Commandment
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“You shall not bear false testimony against your neighbor.” - Exodus 20:16
Most literally, refers to testifying in a court of law.
-Seriously: Deuteronomy 19:15-21; “A single witness will not suffice [...] if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.”
Naturally, there’s more to it than just that.
James 3:6 “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
Slander – Lying is bad. Don’t lie.
Why do people do it?
- Malice. “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.” Lev. 19:16
- Wrath. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1
Gossip – Even if it's true, sometimes you should still not say anything.
- Spreading quarrels: "Without wood a fire goes out. Without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Prov 26:20
- Starting quarrels.
What to do?
“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd” Exodus 23:2
1 Pet 2:1”Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. “
- Learn when it's none of your business.
- If there's a problem, take it directly to the person.
- If somebody presses a story on you, ask them questions.
- If you know somebody is being maltreated, do not keep quiet.