The Eighth Commandment
Every four years in the USA we are exposed to a vivid example of the breaking of the eighth commandment. This breaking of the commandment is aired across national TV and on the radio air waves for all to watch and hear.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” – Ex 20:16
As I listen to this spectacle, I am reminded that we are not to tell lies that can bring down our neighbors; we are not even supposed to speak badly about our neighbors even if it’s the truth. Speaking with an evil tongue not only breaks down friendships and damages trust but the fact is that these hurtful words cannot be taken back. Think of it this way, someone who steals can repent and give back, but with our tongue, we can never take back or undo the damage that has been done by what was spoken.
This is serious stuff! This is what Jesus says concerning gossip:
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Matthew 12:34
Usually, pride is at the core of this gossip. People who gossip want to elevate themselves at the expense of others. Here’s what they should be doing:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:3-4
If we act out of love, as Jesus teaches, we will build up our colleague’s reputation and in so doing, build up ours as well.