The Ninth Commandment

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." Thus runs the ninth commandment. And a great commandment it is, inculcating, demanding, that men shall think the truth and tell the truth as it concerns their fellowmen. The Ten Commandments have been tested through long generations; they are being tested still; and always is the wisdom of them being valued and appraised of men, as each proves for himself their worth in protecting and fostering the best in human relationships. The moral law is the very backbone of modern civilization. Far more than is generally imagined the Decalogue underlies international and civil law; and, without doubt, it is—next to enlightened spiritual understanding—the greatest force making for righteousness in the world.

The ninth commandment deals particularly with human relationships, as the First Commandment has to do with our relationship to God. In simple, straightforward language it commands every one not to bear false witness against his neighbor. "A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies," is an old proverb. And when one thinks of it, how mean is he who would think and speak and act falsely where his neighbor is concerned, either to abase his neighbor or to aggrandize himself! Apart from other sinister consequences falling upon the false witness-bearer there is one to which Mrs. Eddy draws attention in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 226): "When Aristotle was asked what a person could gain by uttering a falsehood, he replied, 'Not to be credited when he shall tell the truth.'" That, indeed, would be an unenviable predicament. But Aristotle was right. He stated precisely what happens when one is discovered bearing false witness. Faith in such a one becomes severely strained, if not altogether shattered; and, as sometimes happens, no inconsiderable effort along the line of faithfulness and veracity is necessary on his part to redeem the credit he has so wantonly abused.

The Ever Present "Now"
November 11, 1922

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.