You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
The ninth commandment concerns our own and our neighbour’s good name. This forbids speaking falsely on any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising or designing to deceive our neighbour. Speaking unjustly against our neighbour, to hurt his reputation. Bearing false witness against him, or in common conversation slandering, backbiting, and tale-bearing; making what is done amiss, worse than it is, and in any way endeavouring to raise our reputation upon the ruin of our neighbour’s. How much this command is every day broken among persons of all ranks!
What does this commandment teach us?
We must hold fast to veracity: the habitual observance of truth.
To love our neighbor, there is nothing more important than telling the truth.
Deception is opposed to truth and always does damage to others.
Consider and Ponder: Words have power. We must carefully choose our words for good, especially when those words concern our family, co-workers, fellow citizens and all those we interact with each day.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29 KJV
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21 ESV
*See also The Marrow of Sacred Divinity by William Ames, translated by William H. Gross, OntheWing.org.