What is false witness?

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False witness includes all thoughts and words originating in our corrupt hearts that harm our neighbor’s honor and reputation.

The following are examples of this sin:

  1. Lies, false testimony, false accusations, and false defense before a court of law or a government official, and false judgments.

    False witnesses:

    Prov. 19:5: A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.

    Assignment: Read Acts 6:11-14: False witnesses against Stephen.

    False accusers: Read Matt. 27:12 and Joh. 18:29-30.

    Enacting unjust laws and defending a wrong matter.

    Is. 10:1-2: Woe unto them that decree unrighteousness decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

    False judges:

    Prov. 17:15: He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.

    Luke 23:24: And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required (to crucify Jesus).

  2. When we speak about our neighbor with a deceitful and evil intent, contrary to the truth, and refrain from speaking the truth (gossip and slander).

    Eph.4:25: Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

    Joh. 8:44: Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    Assignment: Read 2 Kings 5:19-27: Gehazi’s lies.

  3. When we reveal what our neighbor has told us in confidence.

    Prov. 11:13: A talebearer revealeth secrets, but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

  4. When we speak evil about our neighbor to others.

    James 4:11: Speak not evil one of another.

    Luke 6:37: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned.

  5. When in our hearts we harbor evil against our neighbor and think evil of him.

    Zech. 8:17: Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate.