We will give account for our words – Matthew 12:36
are to speak the truth about our fellow man, not to produce in the mind of a third party a wrong attitude or belief.
Speaking or writing what is not true can take many forms: something false we invent and spread, repeating a dishonouring report, exaggerating, veiling or misrepresenting the truth because of fear or enlarging on the facts with the intention to impress others. All these are inaccurate representations.
A good policy is to THINK before speaking:
is it True?
will it Help?
is it Inspiring?
is it Necessary?
is it Kind?
Living by this motto will prevent us being a false witness, which is one of the10 commandments expressly forbidden by God (Ex 20:16). “The Lord hates…a false witness who pours out lies” (Prov 6:16-19).
Jesus also recognized that Christians sometimes suffer from false witnesses with evil intent. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Mt 5:11). Paul termed them “momentary troubles” in the light of eternity (2 Cor 4:17). How we handle them is important though. If we hold on to hurt from another, this will come through in our speech. Instead of just facts, there will be raw emotion and criticism of that person. A good test is would I like this said about me? (Lk 6:31).