“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).
It’s the ninth of the Ten Commandments: Do not bear false witness. The command is clear. Do not lie. Ever.
But there’s another aspect of this commandment that’s often overlooked. The aspect of slander.
When you speak against someone who does not have the opportunity to hear what you’ve said - and defend themselves - you have slandered that person.
Too many people are slandered, and irreparably damaged, by something said in a whisper. Or a prayer request. A casual comment.
Words that are not only untrue, but spoken against a person who has no chance to give their side of the story. Which sometimes is the actual truth.
So make sure in your speech that you uphold the ninth commandment. Be extremely careful with your words. Because they can never be erased.
Paul said that the increase in slander is a sign of the end times (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Finally, think about this: Jesus said that we will be held accountable for every idle word that comes from our mouth (Matthew 12:36).
That should cause all to pause!
My mom was most certainly right when she said, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.”