How important is it for a soceity to value telling the truth? One might argue that without this the ability of that soceity to function with any sort of justice is completely comprommised. There has to be a basic level of trustworthiness and honesty for a soceity to function. That is why our proverb for today is so important. It urges us to tell the truth - and not to be a witness against our neighbor without cause. Don't lie about your neighbor is what we are being told. This is especially the case when any kind of bitterness of thought of revenge comes into our minds.
There is a basic level of honesty that must be prevelent for a soceity to function. Think for a moment about the number of transactions that take place every day that are based on the premise that we are being told the truth. Now consider the number of ponzie schemes that have been exposed recently in our financial system. This undermines everyone's confidence in the system itself. It is only when honesty and truth prevail that one can feel even remotely safe in a society. When that breaks down, the soceity itself breaks down. Unless there is the rule of law - and the most basic levels of truth in what we do - our society will wind up looking like a banana republic where almost everything you do will have to be accompanied by a bribe to be done. There will be no justice - and security will have to be maintained by how well you are armed.
All this starts with the breakdown of honesty and truth between neighbors. This is why God tells us NEVER to be a false witness against our neighbor. We are not to give deceitful testimony - but rather to speak the truth. The breakdown of decency is not the fault of Washington. Decency broke down because we abandoned it toward our neighbors. What we have in Washington is what happens when a society in general leaves honesty and accepts growing levels of dishonesty in itself and in its leaders. We would not have the pack of dishonest, money-hungry, power-hungry fools leading us in our capitol accept for the fact that we ourselves did not DEMAND that our leaders be better than that. When faced with dishonesty in office, we should have DEMANDED RESIGNATIONS - and if that did not happen - they should have been told plainly that this is the last term they would ever serve as our representatives in government. Instead we traded truth for government hand-outs in the form of projects, grants, and every other way one can say government bribery without using the word bribe. Without honesty, truth, and integrity - we are doomed as a nation.
Our proverb warns us in verse 29 that the worst way that dishonesty raises its ugly head is as a means of revenge. We are presented with a situation in which someone has been a false witness. We are warned not to decide that we will do to them what they have done to us. When we choose to fight fire with fire - everything and everyone gets burned. Scripture teaches us to turn the other cheek. We are informed to allow the proper government authorities to deal with these matters. We are also told that we are to treat others as we would have wanted to be treated ourselves. Know this . . . God is keeping track of all wrongs and His justice will prevail in the end. In the meantime - use every opportunity to show forth grace and mercy - so that you will also have opportunity to share the gospel - even with your enemies. Avoid revenge. It may give you a brief moment of pleasure at their pain - but in the end it will rot your soul. Give your offendedness to God for Him to heal - then embrace the very Spirit of Christ - Who will enable you to be gracioius to those who mistreat you, and will strengthen you to pray for those who abuse you. Then all will see that you are a son of your Father in heaven. Speak truth - be an honest witness - and leave judgment to God.