How has the human raced evolved, or perhaps more accurately devolved, into creatures that can’t sit still at a stoplight for one minute without checking their smartphone? Every time I’m stopped, I look around at other drivers to take notice. It makes me so sad to see so many with that addiction.
More than likely, they’re checking a social media feed … Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc … More and more people, day after day, reveal what’s in their hearts by revealing it on social media. They think everything revolves, or should revolve, around them.
The online world is populated with more than a few who disregard one of God’s most basic and serious commandments, “Thou shat not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Many neighbors verbally assault their digital neighbor, tribe against tribe, avatar against avatar, misrepresenting one another, lying about each other, presenting half-truths, and smearing reputations without remorse. Even worse, it’s done with pride and arrogance.
What is a witness? A witness is someone who ought to speak the truth they know. Meaning, they should attest to what they saw and heard. Their words lead to vindication or condemnation.
What is a false witness? A false witness is someone who is a threat to individual lives and the life of the community at large. They stir up animosity and division by lying and perverting justice. A false witness is also someone who refuses to speak about what they know to be true. Being silent when you know the truth is just as bad a telling a lie.
Now, ask yourself a question. How do you talk about your neighbor? Do you publish their faults and mute their virtues? Do you lie and tell half-truths to hurt them? Do you elevate yourself at their expense? The commandment, “Thou shat not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” concerns your name and your neighbor’s name, and the point of it is to not harm theirs unjustly.
Whether or not we’d be better off without social media is not the question. However, one can’t deny it displays the state of our hearts. Based on the evidence, many hearts are envious, bitter, hateful, jealous, or angry.
We need new hearts, new loves, new hopes. We need forgiveness. We need redemption. We need to be people who don’t just avoid falsehood but speak truth and love about our neighbor.
While the world cancels and devours one another by being false witnesses, those who follow God’s commandment will pursue a true justice established by true witnesses. That’s what a good neighbor does.
Would you mind joining me as a good neighbor?