I apologize, this devotion will have to be written rather than video.
I'm continuing our study of the Ten Commandments with this, particularly timely command.
Exodus 20:16 English Standard Version 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
So, what is false witness? Simply put, it's making up stories about someone, slandering them, spreading gossip. Traditionally, this was applied to testimony in a courtroom setting.
Why have I said this is timely? Because we live in a day and age of character assassinations, of insults, stories with half-truths, and complete lies.
I believe to love my neighbor I must protect their dignity, and that means at the most basic level, telling the truth about them. If I protect your dignity and your name, I don't gossip about you and share information about you that will damage your name.
My father helped me to develop a unique understanding of this. He was a firearm enthusiast and taught me how to handle them at a very young age. He always taught me, never to point any gun, real, play, or imaginary at something that you don't want to shoot. Going on to explain that you could never wish a bullet back in the barrel of a gun. Once it's gone, that's it. It will do the damage that it will do. You cannot stop it, however, you can prevent it.
Words are an awful lot like bullets. Once said, you cannot reel them back in. You can't unsay things. The words will find their intended and unintended targets. They will rip into people, and then travel on through, and hurt others. Just like a bullet going through one target and into another.
The gossip you say, the nasty things you say about people, won't just hurt them, they hurt the community around them. They ricochet and rip into their loved ones. Occasionally, they'll even bounce back at you.
Yes, you can repent, but you can't undo the hurt. The bullet's left the barrel.
So, now, more than ever, let's watch our words.