“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)
To bear witness or give a testimony is to say what you know, have seen or heard about someone or a given situation. Though the ninth commandment seems to primarily have its expression in a judicial context, the lessons embedded therein can be generally applied to everyday life.
In our everyday court of casual conversations, when people’s reputation are put on trial, what do you say about people behind their backs? Do you speak the truth in love or do you exaggerate people’s shortcomings to gain a reputational advantage?
When you maliciously speak ill of your colleague in the presence of your boss to get an unfair advantage, know that you are breaking the ninth commandment. Most workplaces and political arenas are filled with false testimonies. This is simply a manifestation of the greed and selfishness in the hearts of men.
Competition, which is one of the cardinal marks of our age, can practically change human beings into beasts. It was envy that made Cain kill his brother Abel. And if we allow it, the same envy will cause us to kill each other. A heart filled with love has no space for nursing a false testimony against a neighbour.