Key Theme: Our words are powerful for tearing down or building up a relationship. God asks us to choose them carefully.
Read Exodus 20:16
- Underline: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Write: “8th Commandment” or “8C”
What is forbidden in the 8th Commandment?
Read Proverbs 19:5
- Underline: he who breathes out lies will not escape.
- Write: 8C: Don’t Lie.
Read Proverbs 11:13
- Underline: Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
- Write: 8C: Don’t Gossip.
Read James 4:11
- Underline: Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.
- Write: 8C: Don’t talk bad about others.
God calls us to guard our tongues in the 8th Commandment, especially as it related to how we interact with (or about!) others. The temptation to lie is an easy one that can often lead to more lies, until you become trapped in a web that is difficult to escape from. Talking about others behind their backs—or gossip—is especially difficult. As Christians, we sometimes couch our gossip in the form of a prayer request: “Did you hear about Sally? She got pregnant with some guy she hardly knows! We should pray for her…” While it may feel like genuine prayer, too often we use this as the excuse to talk about others. Very closely related to this is talking bad about others. It might not be a rumor or juicy piece of news, but putting others down publicly is also forbidden here—whether your assessment of them is right or wrong.
What is commanded in the 8th Commandment?
Read Ephesians 4:25
- Underline: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor
- Write: 8C: Speak Truth
Read Ephesians 4:15
- Underline: speaking the truth in love
- Write: 8C: Speak in Love
Read Proverbs 31:8-9
- Underline: Open your mouth for the mute
- Write: 8C: Defend Others
Read 1 Peter 4:8
- Underline: love covers over a multitude of sins
- Write: 8C: Assume the Best
There are also God-pleasing ways to interact with others, however! We have opportunity to speak truth to others, but always with a loving spirit. If you have a hard truth to share with someone (maybe their actions are hurting you), you can bring it to them in a loving way. Basically, your goal is to help build up the other person or the relationship. While you can’t control their reaction, you can control how you present your words. We also are called in this commandment to speak for those who cannot defend themselves. Maybe this is speaking out against bullying or on behalf of someone who is unable to speak for themselves for whatever reason. We also assume the best in our dealings with others, rather than take offense first.