What God Wrote in Stone Day 11 – Do Not Speak Untruthfully of Others
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16, ESV)
You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. (Exodus 23:1, ESV)
Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:16, ESV)
The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (Exodus 14:14, ESV)
The doorbell rang late in the afternoon. As I peered from the hallway, I heard my mother speaking to a lady. “Ruthie, come here,” said my mom in a not-so-happy voice. I made my way to the front door to find a lady inquiring about the little girl who had pinched her daughter—me, presumably, since I was the one most recently on the porch playing with her little girl. Except it wasn’t me—it was my older sister.
Even as I denied pinching this girl, my sister joined forces with this woman’s accusations and I was given no choice but to take the blame for a crime I did not commit. My punishment? I had to go to bed without dinner. I was probably around 6 years old at the time, and now in my 50s that story makes me laugh, but it was no laughing matter at the time.
Untrue words spoken about us not only deeply hurt us but they often cost us something—generally more than being denied a meal. And if we are being honest, we would have to admit that sometime in our lives, we’ve told lies about someone else. I know I have. On occasion you may innocently enter a conversation only to find out it’s one containing gossip, often including information that isn’t accurate. Often, when we should speak up or simply walk away, we find ourselves drawn to stay, listen for details, and sometimes contribute.
It’s especially hard to be on the receiving end of slander. It’s hurtful, and while you desperately want to set the record straight, sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to do so. In those situations, rather than seek revenge it’s best to allow the truth of Exodus 14:14 to be our strength: “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” It’s a challenge to implement this when our sinful and prideful nature wants to lash out and take matters into our own hands.
In the life of Jesus, we see His acquaintance with the hurt and pain associated with unjust accusations. People spoke falsely about Him, especially about His identity. And while it hurt Him to be rejected and misunderstood, He either allowed Scripture to speak for Him, or He kept silent.
God set this commandment in place, knowing our human hearts and how easily our tongues hurt others. As Christians, our voice should be used to spread good news—truth and encouragement rather than lies and false reports. May we be challenged to speak well of others, speak honestly of others, and to always season our words with grace and kindness.