Bearing False Witness

Proverbs 25:18
A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

Not bearing false witness is one of the Ten Commandments, and it is therefore part of the foundation of living righteously that God prescribes.  Bearing false witness is described here basically as a weapon, an instrument of hurt, something that does damage to another.  What does it involve?  Saying something about someone else that isn’t true.  Giving a false testimony.  Lying.  Letting a wrong impression stand without correcting it.  Implying something untrue.  Making a false accusation.

It may seem harmless on the surface, but ultimately, it can destroy.  It can do a lot more damage than we sometimes realize, because it is usually done with the intention of hurting someone else, damaging their reputation or even worse.  Here it is compared to three different kinds of weapons, so it encompasses the qualities of all of them at once.  But it is not the false witness that is the instrument of hurt as much as the person who bears it.

A maul is a heavy hammer, so it would beat and bruise and crush.  It is something that could be used to drive a wedge, so it separates and causes disunity and broken relationships.  It breaks trust.  It severs bonds.  A sword can stab and cut, causing the kind of wounds that go deep and drain the life right out of us.  And an arrow will pierce, and it can be shot with precision to a specific target.  It is also shot from afar, so we don’t even have to get up close and personal to do a lot of damage.

Let us not be weapons against other people.  When we do so, we become the tools of Satan, employing his methods of deception and falsehood.  Truth is something that is of utmost important to God.  He is a God of truth, so anytime we bear things that are false, we dishonor Him, as well.  It’s not only important in courts and trials and our civil laws, but it’s important to be people who value truth and honesty and who don’t hurt others by saying things that are not true in any situation.

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