What does it mean to be a false witness?

Generally, we think of someone who lies, someone who intentionally swears in court or in similar dispute something that is not true.  That person is a false witness.

If that’s the only explanation, I’m good.  Of course I always tell the truth (except I might shade my comments occasionally, to be nice).  But what if there were a different meaning?

I’m called to give witness to my faith in Jesus as savior.  To God as healer and provider.  Do I? Do you?

I know a church (one in particular, but there may be others) that claims to be warm and open, but the pastor made it clear they have certain standards there and if I was thinking about disrupting what they were doing in that church of 50 senior citizens, I should be on notice.  I assured him I was not there to stir up problems, but was simply searching for a congregation where I might attend and serve.  Only I didn’t feel so welcome after that.

I know a church that is inclusive to a broad spectrum of people, but the opportunities for service seem reserved for the friends of the pastors.

If you look to scripture, Deut 19:19 says the punishment for a false witness is to do to them what they had intended for the other.  This is a natural law, and Xerxes gave Haman the punishment he intended for Mordechai, on the very gallows constructed for the purpose.

Again, Psalms 101:5 says “whoever secretly slanders a neighbor, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.”  I’ve been in churches where they spoke ill of the neighbors who didn’t come to church.  Even on a prayer walk in a dying church, I was provided the commentary of this house or that, where they used to come, but were caught in a sin and left, without any effort from the church to restore the family.  I’m saddened that church faded to nothing, and finally changed their name to remove the stink of their reputation in the neighborhood, with little result.

One method of preparing a church for reviving would be to examine your history, and confess the past slander of the neighborhood.  If God would spare Ninevah, would have spared Sodom & Gomorrah, how much more will he spare and restore a congregation of his children who repent?

As Tertullian quoted John 13:35:  ” Look,” they say, “how they love one another and how they are ready to die for each other”  Let us therefore bear good witness to one another and to our community.