No False Testimony: Commandment 9
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
Lying is wrong, and it is especially evil when done in a court of law. This is what is prohibited by this commandment – the specific act of giving false testimony against someone in matters of justice. There can be no justice if the courts are corrupt and all the witnesses lie. False testimony erodes the bedrock upon which a society is built. No one is safe when false accusations and false testimony are allowed into a judicial system. Neighbor will turn against neighbor. Chaos will ensue and the social fabric will be torn apart.
In our society, where people are so often tried in the court of public opinion, it is essential that we have an honest and trustworthy media. Obviously, we do not. All of our media is unabashedly biased toward their own political ends and financial bottom lines that they can no longer be trusted to tell us the truth about anything important. They no longer inform; they only reassure. And what is the result of all of this deception and disinformation? The division and hatred of the people. In a culture of lies our only disposition toward our neighbor can be one of suspicion and hatred. It takes the truth to build a culture of love, and to fulfill the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.
We must be people of the truth. This is the case especially in our personal lives, because this is where our character is shaped. Those who would dare to bear false testimony, whether from the witness stand or from the news desk, are the same people who live by lies privately. They cannot be trusted with anything.
Wherever there is false testimony, deception, obfuscation, mischaracterization, spin, or manipulation we know that the devil is at work.
But we must live by the truth, for all truth belongs to God and every lie comes from the devil. As Jesus said, deception is the native tongue of the devil. Wherever there is false testimony, deception, obfuscation, mischaracterization, spin, or manipulation we know that the devil is at work. If something does not align with the truth, we can be confident that the devil is at work there. But God walks among the truth-tellers, and can only be found by those who pursue the truth. Jesus, himself, is the truth, and so his people must live by the truth. Do not lie. Do not bear false testimony.