Key Verse: Verse 16 – “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Key Words: Thou shalt not bear false witness
The Word of God strongly condemns bearing a false witness against others. To do so is to slander a good name and a good testimony and bring disgrace not only to the person, but also to God.
There are two major categories in the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments focus on our relationship to God. The other six deal with our relationships with others. The Fifth Commandment – to honor our parents – is a natural transition between our duties to our heavenly Father and our fellow mortals.
These same two categories can be observed in the Savior’s reply when he was asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
The Lord answered: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Thus our obedience to the commandment not to bear false witness should be rooted in both our love of God and our love of others. But the violation of the Ninth Commandment is among the most common of sins.
Bearing false witness involves the destruction of character and reputation. To do so maliciously is to commit the sin of calumny, or character assassination, described in Shakespeare’s Othello:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘tis something, nothing;
“Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
What to do:
✞ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
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