The Ninth Commandment
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Question: What does “bear false witness” mean?
Answer: Let us take this one word at a time. The verb bear means to move or carry
something from one place to another, or to give out something. False is the opposite
of “true,” and is something that is not real, or right, or is based on a lie. Witness means
to tell what you know about a person or an event. So, to “bear false witness” means to spread, or tell, lies about someone or something.
When this commandment was originally given to the Hebrew people, it was mainly a rule to prohibit telling a lie in a court of law. However, the spirit of this commandment would forbid any kind of lying. Mary Baker Eddy writes:
“‘Thou shalt not bear false witness;’ that is, thou shalt not utter a lie, either mentally or audibly, nor cause it to be thought. Obedience to these commandments is indispensable to health, happiness, and length of days.” (Mis. 67)
The Bible also tells us what God thinks of lying:
“These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord
among brethren.” (Proverbs 6)
Practice: If you are tempted today to tell a lie about someone in order to get them in trouble, now is the time to stop that urge. You will only hurt yourself. Are you tempted to say something bad about yourself? Zip your lips!
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(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments”
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