Bearing false witness: Gossip, slander, deceit, backbiting, and talebearing

Exodus 20:16

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

This is Ninth of the Ten Commandments so obviously this is of high importance.

It is amazing to note how all of the items in that title all go hand in hand. They all feed off of one another. Ultimately they all stem off of “bearing false witness.”

The reason I’m going to bring this subject up is because I’ve noticed just how pervasive, prevalent, and harmful gossip can be even on the Internet amongst people who you have never met in person.  I have not been immune to have some of this wash up on my shores, either. Frankly if you are active in social media AT ALL you may as well resign yourself to the inevitability of this sort of thing happening to you at some point as well. It’s a contagion out there and especially on social media.

I’m going to run through a few Scriptures that address this subject and offer a few comments.


Proverbs 16:28  28 A froward man soweth strife and a whisperer separateth chief friends.


It is always bad news when someone tells you “some people said/wrote such and such.”  The immediate sinking feeling that occurs is very unpleasant because you know in that instant you have been wronged for absolutely nothing. It is a feeling of being the victim of injustice. No one likes that. It doesn’t take much to do needless harm with careless and suggestive questions or comments especially based on so little as type written words in the public domain. It’s amazing how overly active imaginations can make something out of absolutely nothing. Huge Internet wars have broken out on little more than what I have outlined here. We all of us need to take great care to not be those “some people” ourselves. It’s very easy to fall into that trap.


Leviticus 19:16

16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.


Pretty straight forward. Obviously God is not a big fan to say the least.


Proverbs 26:20-22:

20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.


We have all seen that Proverbs 26 one haven’t we?  Admit it: At least once in our lives we have been the talebearer yes? Com on, admit it. You know you have. So have I. I am not proud of it and I pray that the Lord has and continues to work on me and mature me to keep me from falling into that easy trap. Why do we do it? Good entertainment value?  It can be but it comes at a high cost that we don’t typically think about in the moment. Does that above passage not summarize just about every Internet drama you’ve ever seen?  You simply cannot have a good Internet drama without the above talebearer concept stirring it up.


Jeremiah 9:4

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.


Wow. Sometimes it seems that bad doesn’t it? Like you can’t trust anyone? It is especially sad when it is like that amongst a body of Christians. How that must grieve the Lord.

It should go without saying that any Christian should exhibiting love as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 and the fruits of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23. Unfortunately we Christians are still imperfect human beings. If false witnessing and any and all that goes with it is being exhibited from a professing Christian then they should be lovingly but firmly rebuked and chastised on the grounds of those two passages I just referenced and the Ninth Commandment itself.


John 13:35

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.


This is a serious call to mind our public witness, fellow Christians, and I most certainly am talking to myself here as well.


Allow me to zoom the camera lense out a little bit to close out this entry:


Romans 1:28-32

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


If this isn’t our society today to a tee then I don’t know what is.  The problem here is: We as Christians should not be exhibiting any of those qualities ourselves.


2 Corinthians 2:20

20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:



This is Paul writing his second letter to the Church in Corinth.  I have personally witnessed a number of incidents in the last few months notably with one or two controversies involving professing Christians that sadly fit this to a tee. We could use a Paul right now with his butt kicking shoe on ready to go and as always I include myself in the lineup for said kicking.


Last but not least:

2 Timothy 3: 1-5

3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.


If you combine this with Romans 1:28-32 I daresay it paints a complete and accurate picture of the time period we’re living in today. The good news is: That means we are in the general season of the Lord’s return and He can’t come back fast enough. Are you ready?  The way you get ready is you need to know that Jesus Christ died in your place for your sins. Jesus Christ died in the place of every person that has ever lived and will ever live.  All you have to do is accept that truth. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior today.


4 thoughts on “Bearing false witness: Gossip, slander, deceit, backbiting, and talebearing

  1. Pingback: From L.A. Marzulli: Lawlessness! | Watching the Watchers

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