By Nick Bibile
Ex 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (The ninth commandment)
The ninth commandment has to do our reputation with our neighbor.
Pr 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
We need to love our neighbor and not to hate our neighbor; we should not get jealous or envious of our neighbor. When you are untruthful, and bear false witness against your neighbor, it affects your name, church and society. To bear false witness is to say something contrary to the truth. The bad mouth comes from the tongue. Which at first was made to be an instrument of God's praise, is now become an instrument of unrighteousness.
The untruth is twisting someone’s words, twisting the truth and this happens when someone omits and adds to someone else’s words. Of course we cannot remember and recount every word that was spoken but if we change the meaning and make the story different and make our neighbor looks bad, then we are guilty of this sin.
Ps 52:2 Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Ps 140:3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips.
Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Let us see some of the sins that fall into this category.
Slandering and Backbiting.
The scorpion carries his poison in his tail; the slanderer carries his poison in his tongue. Slandering 'is to report things of others unjustly. The word slander comes from the Greek word, ‘skandalon’ Latin word, ‘scandalum’ our English word scandal is the root word for slander. Slander is a false report maliciously spoken against someone, to injure the reputation of the other person.
Ps 35:11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
Again we see in the Old Testament how they tried to invent a false scheme against Jeremiah.
Jer 18:18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.
In the New Testament we see how the Pharisees
slandered John the Baptist and Jesus. Against John the Baptist they said,
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.” (Mt 11:18)
Against Jesus they said, “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners…”(Mt 11:19)
Slandering someone’s reputation that is telling a
false report on someone trying to injure him, this is a sin. Now backbiting is
also slandering, which is very common in today’s society even in the church.
Backbiting is a false report against your neighbor, which someone tells in the
absence of his neighbor, not telling to the face but biting the back of the
neighbor, meaning when your neighbor has turned his back, when he is absent,
making the neighbor injure by telling a false report. On the other hand
slandering is telling the false report of the neighbor to his face.
If you remember in the Old Testament Potiphar’s wife said against Joseph,
“The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me…”(Gen 39:17) This false report caused Joseph to be ended up in prison. Also we see how king Saul was jealous over David and he told his servants against David, “Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king's son in law.”( 1Sa 18:22)
Also we sin, because we imagine or suspect that someone is gossiping or backbiting. If we see two people together in a room or they are friends, we have a suspicion, then we express this suspicion to others, this is a sin too. Also we can slander a person in our mind according to our beliefs not knowing the whole truth. Instead of backbiting and slandering the best thing is to consult the matter in love face to face. It is sinful to be silent when you have a call to speak: if you forbear to admonish the offender in love between him and you, when you have opportunity and just cause, it is sinful to be silent and the devil can feed you with imaginations.
There are people who love to spread malicious
stories that will injure the reputation of their neighbor. A talebearer breeds
mischief. The truth is twisted, and it goes from one mouth to the other
and as it travels from one mouth to the other, there is exaggeration and add
more seasoning to make the story more juicy and tasty. Tale bearing is very
pleasing to the flesh but destructive to your soul.
Le 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Pr 26:22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
The person who is backbiting is sinning against the Lord and also the person who is hearing is sinning against the Lord. The hearer loves to listen, the hearer have the pleasure of hearing and delights himself. The hearer stimulates the backbiter. The hearer gets excited to listen to the gossip; the hearer is very interested of the gossip and listens in all eagerness. This kind of hearer is a very inquisitive person, very curious person. The hearer gratifies the mind with the gossip. The backbiter has the devil’s tongue and the hearer has the devil’s ear. If the hearer’s ear is sanctified with God’s word, when the backbiter comes and spread an untruthful report of our neighbor this godly hearer’s ear will become deaf to the backbiter and the backbiter will go and find someone who has a devil’s ear.
It is the devil who spoke evil of Job and he does against the godly, he is the accuser of the brethren, he loves to stir up backbiting and as he sits upon the tongue of the backbiter and the hearer. When we falsely slander someone we imitate the devil.
Bearing false witness is a lie. The Jew produced many accusations against Paul, which they could not prove, and the Jews accused Jesus of that day of bearing false witness. When God summoned Cain, he denied where his brother was whom he killed. Many lawyers are liars today, as they will twist the truth for the sake of money.
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” (Isaiah 5:20)
See below in this scripture how the truth was made
into a lie against Paul.
Ac 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
Bearing false witness against your neighbor is a lie.
Pr 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
Lying is contrary to God’s truth, as the Holy Spirit is called the spirit of truth. (1John 4:6) The lying tongue comes from the devil’s heart. Ananias and Sapphira lied to God with their tongue as Satan filled their heart to lie.
Lying is the work of the devil.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Pr 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea,
seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Pr 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Stand to the truth.
We are to promote with all our strength the good reputation of our neighbor. We see in the scriptures how King Saul hated David and wanted to kill him but David did not do any harm to Saul. Jonathan was the Son of Saul, he would have easily taken the side of his father but he took the side of the truth.
1Sa 19:4 And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good:
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
We cannot judge a person according to our standard, look at the mirror you too have weaknesses. But we can encourage and advise a person. If a person is sinning we need to talk to that person in private of his sin, then if that person is continually sinning then we need to take another witness and talk to the person of his sin. Then if that person keeps on sinning we should tell the church and expel that person from the church, until he or she truly repents and come back. (Mat 18:15-20)
We are different than the
1Jo 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
We are not the majority but the minority. The majority are following the broad road, they will do what ever that pleases the flesh. We know that in reality people do not love their neighbor, we need to go to court and see how many civil cases are filed against the neighbors. But we as Christians are not of the world but of God and we know the spirit of truth from the spirit of error. John Calvin said, “no one can prove himself to be the son of God, except he loves his neighbors, and because the true knowledge of God necessarily produces love in us.”
Living a holy life.
Ps 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
God from the very beginning had established the church and the hypocrite too occupies a place in the temple of the Lord. Outwardly they all look the same. But God’s temple is holy and we have access to God by living a holy life, all sins must be confessed to God in repentance and God can make a vile bad mouth into a holy mouth that can glorify God.
Be watchful of the enemy and be patient.
Ps 39:1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
We need to be conscious of our weaknesses. The devil will attack you on your weaknesses. And we need to know the devices of Satan. Satan will take the opportunity of your weaknesses, when a perfect situation comes and you know you are weak in the area the devil will be there to tempt you. There will be extreme temptation to sin with your tongue, slander someone, gossip, get angry and slash someone with the tongue, bring a hot temper upon you. The tongue is a slippery organ in our mouth but we must restrain it not allowing it to get loosed, in the time of temptation. Remember how they put a crown of thorn on Jesus, mocked him, spit on him, struck him, but he never opened his mouth. The secret is subdued our heart to patience. The words subdue means, under to bring into subjection. We need to bring our hearts to the subjection of the word of God, as man cannot live by bread alone but by the word of God.
When we are weak in this area, we need to continually pray to God. Paul said, “for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Only when we realize when we are weak and pray, we can really enjoy the grace of God. We need to get down to our knees and pray as David prayed:
Ps 141:1 LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto
me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. 2 Let my prayer be set forth
before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Ps 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. 4
Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that
work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
David was going through heavy-duty trials, but he did not get into his flesh but rather he fell down at his knees in prayer in spirit. It is not just praying with the mouth, but crying unto the Lord, David was serious when he prayed, in the same way we need to be serious of our sins as it is very destructive to the soul.
Satan tempted him as his enemies were all over him; the natural thing to do is to get mad and angry and to whip your neighbors with the tongue. But instead of eating the delicacies of the enemy that is instead of falling into temptation of the enemy and being a victim of the enemy David prayed that his mouth might be closed and guarded, that the door of his mouth might be kept shut by God.
The tongue is very slippery liable to slip and to
fall into sin, unless continually watched and guarded by God, in his word and